If ever there were a 10-star pop (“psych”-, “power”- or
otherwise) album this year, Late Music just
may be the one-it’s that jawdroppingly good. In a glorious wash of vocals,
guitar-keyboard interplay and USDA grade-A percussion, Smithereens drummer
Dennis Diken plus pal Pete DiBella (with assists from producer Dave Amels, Andy
Paley, Jason Falkner and members of the Wondermints) effortlessly summon images
of classic British Invasion and its mid-‘60s SoCal analogue.
Playing spot-the-references is a joy: “The Sun’s Gonna Shine
in the Morning” marries Byrdsian harmonies to Who power chords; “I’ve Been
Away” is a baroque mashup of Love, the Move and the Association; the
harpsichord, sepulchral organ and complex vocal arrangement of “Fall Into Your
Arms” is as pure a distillation of the Beach Boys as it gets. Hold that
thought: the jaunty “Tell All the Fools” features none other than erstwhile
Brian Wilson protégés the Honeys singing.
It’s not like Diken and DiBella are self-consciously aiming
for a vintage vibe, however. The impression you come away with is these guys
simply dream in Technicolor and this is the soundtrack to those dreams.
Standout Tracks: “The
Sun’s Gonna Shine in the Morning,” “I’ve Been Away” FRED MILLS