You may have noticed on the left hand side of this blog, there is a widget dedicated to a group called "The Major Labels" and their new album, Aquavia. I urge everyone reading this to stop and click on the widget. This is a brand new album by Expert Popsmiths Bleu, Mike Viola and Ducky Carlisle and it is exquisite. I've personally had it on a loop for 2 weeks straight. It's a very addictive confection. You can listen to some samples of the album, but I recommend you dive in head first and immerse yourself into the album, start to finish. Although I loathe the term normally, the album is Beatlesque. The album is also T-Rexy, Bowie-y, Lennon and Mccartney solo-y and, to my uncannily trained ears, Hudson Brothers-y.
The opening and closing songs ("The Major Labels Got It Made" and "TML4EVA") bookend the inner content with the first proper song within those bumpers being, "Don't Hear A Single"; a paean to the great pop records of the past. If you're past 35, you'll be able to fully appreciate the sentiment here. There is some incredible Lennon/McCartney-ism going on with 2 seemingly different songs welded together to form a whole.
The next song is simply the best 3 and a half minutes spent in 2008. "Velveteen Queen" can be called a number of things: Baroque, Glam, Psychedelic... they may all fit, but labels aside, it's simply pop brilliance. The guitars, vocals, lyrics all come together with the nudge of a higher power's hand.
"The Bitter Pill" shares a kinship with "Don't Hear A Single" in it's record store delving theme.
"Richard Randolph" is a curious song. It's about a harmless middle aged man child who wants nothing more than to play with the local children. The parents, however, won't stand for it. The vaudeville type melody belies a darker lyric about automatically deeming anyone with a love for children and remaining a child himself (the Peter Pan Syndrome) a pervert. A worthwhile, challenging song.
"Hummingbird" is Bleu's beautiful second cousin to McCartney's "Blackbird". Simple and lovely.
This is where side two on a vinyl record would be (and one is forthcoming, I've been assured!) and it is an Abbey Road type suite of sweeping themes and melodies. It kicks of with the assaulting driving rock of "Jimmy Kenney" and lands on the doorstep of "The Sweet", a fascinating pop piece with movements and themes that would've made Brian Wilson proud.
Then there's "An Ode To Something To Cry About"... This is an oddball one joke one off. Possibly the weakest cut on the album, but it's a funny joke piece that reminds me of Nilsson's "Ivy Covered Walls" off of his Sandman Album.
"Deja Vu (All Over Again)" is a short and sweet Merseybeat like tune that comes complete with Ringo Drums and 12 string Rick melody lines. It's just an appetizer for the album's namesake.
"Aquavia" is a devastating and haunting song that wouldn't be out of place on an early 70's Elton John album. The melody and chorus will stay with you for days.
After the "TML4EVA" closer, the cheeky bums had the nerve to round out the album with 6 minutes of noise.
Seriously, this is one wonderful album and one of the best albums I've heard all year. Download it for free, or better yet, throw 6 or 7 dollars their way. They more than deserve it.
The Major Labels home base are on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/themajorlabels