This diverse full-length begins with “Black Dress,” which proves a smart arrangement leading off with a brief guitar intro followed by double-chorus, featuring rich, intelligent chord changes complete with a short, almost stiffly dry, funky verse, releasing back into the huge, melodic chorus. The 2nd and third verses double in length almost indiscernibly, as they merely tease the ears, which can’t help but anticipate the wonderfully lush chorus. This piece of ear candy is a little reminiscent of the Foo Fighters’ 1997 release, The Colour and the Shape.
The second track, “Keep Your Jacket On,” has some thumpin’ woodblock country flair to it, featuring some very nice lap steel from Kim Deschamps (Cowboy Junkies, Blue Rodeo).
The special heterogeneity of this recording is further exemplified by the title track, which brings together some very nice horns in a sort of Burt Bacharach/Faith No More expression of contemporary stylings, but which easily reaches across several musical genres.
“Tears of Yesterday” shows off tight, soft, melodic dissonance and consonance interplayed over smooth backing vocal and lush acoustic guitars…
“Shadowatch” is a well-crafted Satriani-esque pop-fusion track, also easily crossing over into evermore genres…
Modern modulations kick off the my favorite track, 9/11-inspired “Tower.” Listening with headphones, I couldn’t help but hear what felt to me like the impossible influence of 90’s Detroit treasure trove, Solid Frog, with its clever instrumentation, excellent horns, perfect and sensible vocal harmonies, and smooth and thick pleasure-to-the-ears aural qualities.
“We Hear You Cry” artfully pulls together little bit of the feeling, tone and simple beauty of Queensryche’s Silent Lucidity. Get a good dose of smart pop love songs with “The Slightest Thing,” and “Let’s Get Out of Our Own Way.” Fully-fusioned James Brown-ish “This Fate I See” takes a socio-political stance, and rounding out the recording is a mostly-instrumental reprise of “Tower,” being my favorite track, I thought it genius to revisit it.
Overall, Reality struck me end-to-end as a smart, crisp fusion-meets-lush-90’s-pop-rock and funk-rock recording with a little modern country sprinkled in for good measure; almost a slightly cheerier, jazzier, wider-dimensioned Toad the Wet Sprocket, if youâ€™re trying to place it. But any comparisons aside, this well-produced and well-written recording stands quite well all on its own.
A lot of people will fall in love with it, and well they should. Be the first on your block to discover this San Francisco treat.
Review by guest contributor Michael Welchans.