More is the perfect title for this CD, because Powell really delivers more on this recording. A humongous spectacle of sound, More is equal parts late ‘70s Rundgren, Meatloaf, Tommy Keene, Foreigner, Supertramp, ABBA, and any massive major label late ‘70s heavyweight with a decent sense of melody. Huge choruses, massive synth backgrounds and arena-rock anthem vocals are all over this. From the opening track “Prelude,” this recording seems to travel straight down the road to Utopia, if you know what I mean.
Check out the second song title: “Dinah Might.” If Meatloaf did this in ‘79, it would be played as much as “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” Then, there’s “Empty V” with a dead on sounding Tommy Keene-like power vocal with a bridge that is so well crafted that the guitar solo which follows absolutely RIPS through the air out of the speakers. “Rise” is the best song Rundgren and Utopia never wrote. The chorus delivers with a massive ABBA ‘70s radio power. When the melody is strong like on “Rise,” the huge production is cool with a capital C.
“March of Ides” is a #1 hit if sung by Bad English or Meatloaf in their day. Powell has the type of voice that cuts like a hot knife through hard butter: sharp enough to stay on top of this tsunami of sound, but warm and soothing. I hate synthesisers as a rule because most artists use them as a way to beef up otherwise bland, boring choruses. Here, on “...Ides,” when Powell hits that MIDI trigger opening up the synths on the chorus, it sounds like the Vienna Boys Choir singing background vocals at the Who’s Tommy premiere. “More” is another #1 hit in 1979.
This recording is a small example of underground pop that strays effectively away from two guitar rock. There is a tremendous amount that can be done with different instrumentations, and this is proof. No mistake about it: this is pop. But it is pop redefined, much like Utopia did in the late ‘70s.
There is a reason why Powell was dropped from a major label a few years ago. There is less melody, less artist integrity, less labels to release good music, less songwriting skill and less focus on artists and their music. More is a classic example that melody, power and strong songs by real artists still exist. You just need to know how and where to find the music and the artists.
Make your next destination www.notlame.com to find Doug Powell’s More.
// Notes from the Road
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