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Blue Skies for Black Hearts

Serenades and Hand Grenades

(King Of Hearts; US: 20 May 2008; UK: Available as import)

Crisp pop songs should never go the way of the dodo bird, so thankfully there are bands like Blues Skies For Black Hearts to continue the tradition of forefathers like The Beatles, The Kinks and Dave Clark Five. Led by vocalist Pat Kearns, the band makes the most of “Siouxsie Please Come Home” with its retro-rock vibe and “A World Without Love” which sounds like a more mature version of The Click Five. The band also pulls out all the stops with the horn-driven, bouncy “Jenny & Steve” which strolls along without a care in the world. It’s like the group are caught in an infectious pop time warp and refuse to come out from the vault, particularly on the jangle-laced “She’ll Follow Me”. However Blue Skies For Black Hearts sag during “Little White Lies”, a nice pop song but one that sounds like their mailing it in a tad. That’s not the case with “Ambition” which is an ambitious, Sloan-leaning foot-stomper that is probably the album’s highlight. A close second is the choppy “I Still Wish That You Were Still Around” that sounds like a very polished Guided By Voices song Robert Pollard spent days perfecting. And if one thought the first 11 songs were flukes, the band shines on the pretty, orchestral “Someday There Will Be Better Days”.

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Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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