Adriane Pontecorvo: A free-flowing piece at the intersection of jazz, prog rock, and classical music made all the more impressive by the fact that the Hidden Orchestra is actually a single person. When the music starts to swell, it sounds like a full group of instruments, with the kind of energy that shouldn’t be possible coming out of one man. The song itself meanders, winding from place to place and sounding almost improvisational at times, and it’s a solid, ambitious track. [7/10]
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Cello-playing Americana maestro Ben Sollee has been making waves for years as a musician that seeks to transcend genre boundaries. Ten years ago, he recorded a spare, cello and vocals take on the soul classic “A Change Is Gonna Come” that was a stunningly fresh look at the powerful song from the ‘60s civil rights era recorded first by Sam Cooke and later by Otis Redding and many others. Sollee’s use of quiet spaces within the song helped heighten the dramatic importance of the song’s message.
Melodic hard rock act Station returns with the hook-laden “All You Need Is a Heartbeat”, a song that recalls an era of refined harmonies, guitar solos you could sing along with as easily as any chorus and cannon fire drums. Though it’s become fashionable to dismiss or parody the genre, Station carries out its mission with sincerity and passion, the sense that the era that launched Honeymoon Suite and Night Ranger mattered as much as any other. It did, of course, because it kept the tradition of smart songwriting alive while keeping pace with the times.
Patrick Kearney’s impassioned vocal delivery and Chris Lane’s impeccable guitar figures are built on the same foundation partnerships such as Bon Jovi/Sambora and Schon/Perry: A singer who can reach all the appropriate emotional heights and a guitarist who can spur him on to more. If the music is built on the past, it doesn’t necessarily live there. Station’s songs speak to timeless emotions and experiences, ones that transcend hairstyles, music charts, and amp settings.
LOAH (a.k.a. Sallay Matu Garnett) is a new soul singer from Ireland of Sierra Leonean origin and her music blends West African rhythms into jazzy, groovy arrangements. It’s a highly sophisticated and irresistible sound with LOAH labeling what she does as “ArtSoul”. That’s an ideal descriptor for a song like “Nothing” that highlights her superb voice full of richness and color, but also showcases LOAH‘s compositional skills as “Nothing” is a gorgeously constructed song that’s instantly memorable.
Adriane Pontecorvo: ODESZA’s “Late Night” is the perfect segue from spring into summer. Airy and free, it wafts between bass hits like a breeze. Ethereal vocal effects add a particular magic to the single, balancing out driving beats with a delicate touch. Even without words, this song inspires, rising on an elevated melody and never looking back. It’s a warm, starlit song full of possibilities, never too heavy to keep going. [9/10]