Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sweet Comfort Band - The Waiting Is Over

Yes, the waiting truly is over, at last!  Sweet Comfort Band returns 28 years(!) after the release of their last album, "Perfect Timing," and sound as if no time has passed at all.  They have not seen fit to "update" their sound to better fit the current musical landscape. That's not a criticism, but a sigh of relief!  This is the same great Jazz inflected Rock they were always known for.  Fans of Toto, Chicago or Styx will find a lot to enjoy here.

The band is still Bryan Duncan, Randy Thomas and Rick Thomson, with Elijah Thomson filling in for his father, original member Kevin Thomson, who passed away in 2010.  Bryan, Randy and Rick all share in songwriting duties, delivering 11 songs that are arguably the best they've ever done.  The musicianship and vocals, always stellar, still are.

Highlights for me are "Lay It All On The Line," a fun, jazzy, Donald Fagen influenced tune that serves to "introduce" the band members, and the Toto vibe of  "Something Else Is Going On Here," but really the whole album is excellent.  At no point did I feel compelled to skip a song.

It's hard to pick an absolute favorite tune here, but if I had to it would be "In The Light Of Heaven," a beautiful song about a loved one (Kevin) who has gone on to be with God.  This is a song that will mean a lot to anyone who has lost someone dear to them.

In these days of "musical pablum," real bands that create real music are rare.  These guys should have your support.  If you're already a fan, you need to pick up "The Waiting Is Over."  If you've never heard SCB, check them out.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Many thanks to Alice Thomson for the opportunity to hear this album in it's entirety!

You can hear song samples and find out when and where to purchase the album here: http://officialsweetcomfortband.com/subdirectory/?albums=the-waiting-is-over

The album is not for sale just yet, but this will be the website to check out!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Albums you may have missed the first time around (but really need to hear,) Part 1

Zilch - Platinum (Gotee Records, 1997)

Every so often a band comes along that doesn't appear to have much to offer, records one or two albums that no one much likes, then breaks up only to be reborn shortly thereafter as a great band. (i.e. dull, listless Iron Maiden clones Lightforce became the amazing Mortification.)  In the case of Zilch, the opposite is kind of true (depending on how you feel about the band they became):  One amazing album, 1997's Platinum, and the band morphed into the far less original and interesting cookie cutter worship outfit SONICFLOOd.  (No offense at all meant to SONICFLOOd fans.  The band just doesn't hold my attention.)

Starting life as DC Talk's touring band, the band featured  Mark Townsend (guitars, vocals,)  Otto Price (Bass, Vocals) and Jason Halbert (keyboards, vocals.)  All three went on to become producers, with Townsend being particularly well known.

The album's influences are obvious, but it is so original as a whole, they are not a distraction.  There are elements of DC Talk, of course.  "Everything" has a definite Police vibe.  "Here We Go" sounds like it got lost from a Ty Tabor solo project.  There are great moments of "studio patter" scattered throughout.  Ther cover of the old Schoolhouse Rock song "My Hero, Zero," is great as well.

All in all, there's no dud on the disc.  It's the type of release that leaves you wanting to hear more from the band.  Sadly, there is no more, but if you're a fan of modern Rock/Pop, and can track this one down, do yourself a favor and grab it up.

Info:  http://www.jesusfreakhideout.com/jfhblog/template_permalink.asp?id=621