BLOODY RED BARON – Early January Reviews

Posted on 10 January 2013


Mid January Reviews

by Mike Baron
My friends, there has been much talk of grade inflation.  There is no grade inflation here.  I listen to hundreds of records a year.  The critic’s job is to find the good and praise it, not find the bad and damn it.  If a record doesn’t strike a chord with me I simply don’t comment.  Why strangle someone’s baby in the crib?  I pass it on to another reviewer.

CONCEPTUS: Trebly Feelings

            Expansive, spacy little psychedelic trio hits most nails on the head, with overtones of the Red Button, the Galaxies and the High Dials.  Lead singer and songwriter Chris Holmes sounds a little like Ric Ocasek but these guys are originals, within the genre.  One stunner after another. “Accidental Reverb” sounds a little like the Zombies by way of Sidewalk Society before settling into a serious modal guitar vamp.

            Byrds’ influence is undeniable on “Captive Formula” and “Friends,” with its delightfully dissonant guitar solo.  The title track harks back even farther to the salad days of the British Invasion, whilc “Which Way” recalls the Kinks until they hit you with the surprising bridge.

            Four and a half stars.


EYTAN AND THE EMBASSY:  Everything Changes

            This quintet including baritone sax would have been short-listed for my Ten Best if I’d heard it before 2013.  As it is, I’m bumping it forward.  Keyboardist songwriter Eytan Oren has a gift for constructing rich pop melodies that span the divide between big studio productions like Wham and indie pop.  Geoff Countyman’s baritone gives them a broader pallette than most pop acts and they make the most of it.  Horns launch the soulful “Do It For Me.”  “No Reason” is a Wham-like booty shaker.  “The Good Life” would do Jellyfish proud and Ray Charles would have sunk his teeth into “From Now On” with its R&B changes.

            Four and a half stars.




            Irresistible multi-textured spangle machine begins with the kick-it-up-a-notch “38 Rue De Sevigne” which starts acoustic and turns electric, followed by McCartney-esque “Unstoppable.”  This jangle railroad picks up steam with “Unstoppable,” before slowing down for the funereal “Hit Parade.” Overtones of Tommy Keene appear on “Never Felt Better” and “Everybody Knows,” while “Warrior Boy” seduces with a swooning, almost Hawaiian lilt–until it smacks you in the face with the surprising hook.

            Great power pop.

            Four and a half stars.



EMPERORS OF WYOMING (Hillbilly Digital Records)

            Doleful yet exhilarating roots rock reunites former Fire Town band mates Phil Davis and Butch Vig.  Vig, of course, is the multi-platinum award-winning producer of Foo Fighters and Nirvana among others. Also a fine drummer.  This is not far removed from Fire Town with the same excellent songcraft.  It is almost Faulknerian in its exploration of Midwest Gothic.  “Avalanche Girl” radiates that inchoate yearning that lies at the heart of all great pop.  The songs possess a slow-churning majesty that never drags and most of these songs are over four minutes long.

            “I’m Your Man” with its haunting banjo sounds like some secret southern hillbilly ceremony.  “Cruel Love Ways” hues close to power pop in a Tommy Keene mode, while “The Pinery Boy” has Johnny Cash impact.  A unique sound.

            Four and a half stars

2 Responses to “BLOODY RED BARON – Early January Reviews”

  1. Allan Rosenberg says:

    Are you the “Nexus” Mike Baron?