Maston: Shadows

Maston
Shadows
Trouble In Mind
2013-02-12

Frank Maston does everything on this record apart from play the harp. Otherwise, all the brass, woodwinds, organs, piano, guitars, all the turning knobs on analog equipment, twiddling with layers and echo to fine effect, everything you hear, is Maston. And what a fine job he has done of creating haunting melodies and sweet baroque pop music with a sway and warmth appropriate for one so obviously and profoundly influenced by the Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Park end of the sun-drenched pop history of California.

There is an eerie, spaced-out edge to the sunniness, adding a slightly psychodramatic feeling. For example, the thud and twang of “Messages” suggests the love-angle in a spy story film soundtrack. Indeed, the instrumental “Strange Rituals” sounds like a companion piece to Virna Lindt’s musical terrain of sex, fashion, and espionage. These tracks are the shadows cast by Frank Maston sunbathing in the bright light of 1960s Cali-pop, taking careful and modest inspiration and skillfully avoiding brash pastiche. Ana Caravelle plays the harp.

RATING 7 / 10
PopMatters