Howard Popeck ...
I like this album. Great musicianship. All great tracks and no obvious filler. This oddly named band (an obscure-ish Led Zep lyric, actually) are a sort of folk-country-pop amalgam. A bit hard to categorize really. So let’s not. The first thing that strikes you is the maturity of the writing, the recording and the musicianship. Surprising because it’s their debut record. The second thing that strikes you is their singer’s vocal resemblance to Coldplay’s lead singer. Blue Merle aren’t Coldplay, but there is a bit of influence there. And maybe I detected a bit of influence of Jeff Buckley and maybe Counting Crows too? Well, probably.
Now that’s no bad thing, is it? If you are looking for excitement, drive, power and get-up-off-ya-feet stimulus, this isn’t for you. It’s relaxed music, in the main. Contemplative if you like. Lots of mandolin. Comforting is another appropriate word. But don’t confuse comforting with bland. It isn’t that either.
Probably opinions will differ. Some of you will probably play it endlessly while others may well play it a couple of times and then file it away with the other interesting but infrequently played albums – the performances fading into distant memory. I guess the former will predominate though. Why? Well tonight I took a look on eBay. There isn’t a single Blue Merle album for sale – anywhere, just a handful of the CD version. Now that’s got to be a good sign.