The Rooks are led by Michael Mazzarella, a New York City songwriter and artist who has been compared rightfully in many circles to the great John Lennon. The Rooks debut in the early ‘90s is maybe the best example of Beatles-influenced pop ever done. This is not exaggeration for those unfamiliar with The Rooks.
Expectations for this recording were IMMENSE. This recording took a very long time. Personal tragedy and this band’s heart and soul went into it. Instead of trying to record an album that rewrote previous material, Mazzarella shows real growth on this recording. It’s not a pop record, and that has disappointed many of The Rooks fans who wanted another pure pop recording.
Just as Lennon and McCartney outgrew song styles such as “Eight Days a Week,” it appears that occurred here. Like Pet Sounds by Brian Wilson which attempted to do something new, acceptance among diehard fans has been tough but grown over time. For the uninitiated without expectations, this recording has the ability to blow you away as a truly special recording of incredible complexity and beauty. The orchestration and arrangements are beautiful.
Listen to the real strings on “Vows,” all arranged and scored without outside assistance by Mazzarella. Listen to the beauty of the change in “Meditation” at “Heard it before in the letter…” A seamless Mazzarella melodic change. The rockin’ “Sometimes.” Those classic Lennon-esque vocals. Pinell’s crunchy guitar. The last three songs slay me. “Happenstance.” Pinell’s tremendous taste and countermelodic arpeggios make this song rise like a majestic bird. “Do You Have God.” Great lyrics. And last. “Some and Others.” This song touches me deeply. Moving stuff. Read the lyrics. Listen to the melody. Feel this song.
This recording should be appreciated for what it is, a deeply personal scrapbook of sentiments set to complex melody and harmony. A GREAT recording and potential future classic (really) available now from www.notlame.com.
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// Notes from the Road
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