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Jeremy - 2008 - "Pop Explosion"

(43:37 + 73:06 2CD, Jam Recordings)


TRACK LIST:                                 

Disc 1  "Pop Explosion" *****

1.  Come on Over 3:19
2.  Come Clean 3:03
3.  Superstar 3:03
4.  Nice Guy 2:42
5.  Time Is Running Out 3:30
6.  I'm Still Waiting 4:17
7.  The Perfect Love 4:22
8.  Happy All the Time 3:12
9.  My Heart Beats for You 2:40
10. You're Gonna Get It 3:37
11. Everyone Makes Mistakes 2:37
12. As Long As You're Around 2:47
13. Sweet Salvation 2:47
14. Hand in Hand 1:41

Disc 2  "Under Cover" ****+

1.  Near You 4:03
2.  Red Light 2:46
3.  You Told Me 2:31
4.  Circles 3:04
5.  Thirteen 2:53
6.  Every Little Moment 2:24
7.  You're the One 2:07
8.  The River Flows 2:42
9.  It's All Too Much 4:03
10. Are You Coming to See Me 2:17
11. Here Comes a Regular 3:46
12. Morning Sunshine 2:16
13. Dream World 2:50
14. Dream On 2:23
15. Big Day Coming 4:15
16. It Don't Come Easy 2:52
17. A Little Bit Me A Little Bit You 2:52
18. I'm Not in Love 3:01
19. Sad Song 3:46
20. Dark Is the Bark 3:13
21. Here Comes That Feeling Again 2:17
22. Dear Christine 3:01
23. Silver Song 4:13
24. Fond Farewell 3:31


Jeremy Morris  guitars, bass; keyboards; vocals
Dave Dietrich  drums, percussion
Allison Gruner  cello
Mark Morris  bass

Prolusion. Based in the USA, Jeremy MORRIS is a hardworking composer and multi-instrumentalist, and "Pop Explosion" is one of the five new solo releases by him so far this year that I know of. As the title of this creation implies, pop music is the name of the game this time around. Not the kind you'll find in the charts in 2008 though; instead the focus is music influenced by this type of music as it was played in the 60s and early 70s.

Analysis. Whenever I listen to songs by Jeremy, and indeed every time I've introduced the artist to others as well, one reference to his creations will always be mentioned The Beatles. There's something about the way he performs his songs that makes the latter a universal reference point it seems, and in particular this goes for the vocals. Not that Jeremy has a voice similar to Liverpool's greatest sons, at least not in my opinion, but it's a matter of how his is utilized. His choice of vocal range and intonation sounds remarkable similar to what these heroes of old did, and many of their contemporaries too when it comes to that. Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr were part of the movement after all. Jeremy comes across as an artist heavily influenced by several of the artists from that time period, but most of all by The Beatles. On a release such as this these influences are more audible than normal, which is quite natural. After all, the music explored here is made to sound like it could have been made back in the '60s. Jeremy is doing a great job of it too, that has to be said. A composition such as Nice Guy could have been made by The Beatles themselves; it's that similar in style, and on par in terms of quality too. It's not all about the Merseybeat greats on this CD though. Other sounds and styles are explored, although I'm not familiar enough with the music made back then to point out many other references. You're Gonna Get It is one example of obvious influence from another band though and in this case The Who is the ensemble in question, with heavier guitar riffs mixed with psychedelic-tinged acoustic guitar as dominating musical traits and a chorus Townshend and company should get copyright money for. The moments of somewhat harder hitting rock music are few on this creation though; it's the light, melodic pop music of the '60s and early '70s that gets explored most thoroughly: short compositions, with layered and often simple melodic guitar themes underscoring the vocals, with bass and drums keeping pace when utilized. The vocals dominate and the instruments have secondary roles the instrumental passages are few and of brief duration. This is very much the case for the bonus disc included in a limited edition run of this album as well. This CD, named "Under Cover", is filled to the brim with more or less well-known tunes from the age when The Beatles were the kings of music, as well as some recent compositions written by acts heavily inspired by the music from this age. There's no information included with this release concerning who recorded this songs originally, but quite a few will be obvious. Jam Recordings gives this description of the bonus disc: "Contains 24 covers of classic bands such as Teenage Fanclub, The Monkees, Sweet, Idle Race, Lou Reed, 10CC, The Byrds, The Who, The Beatles, Left Banke, Klaatu, Genesis, Yo La Tengo, The Replacements, 1910 Fruitgum Company, Neil Diamond, Squire, The Jetset, Big Star, Bay City Rollers, and more!" Many familiar names and at least for me quite a few new acquaintances. How enjoyable this release will be depends very much on musical taste, obviously. Jeremy is a skilled composer, and the performance of his creations as well as the staggering 24 tracks on the bonus disc here are all high class. Personally I'm not that fond of pop music from the day and age explored so thoroughly on these two CDs, but despite that I found myself humming along to quite a few of these songs. I have to admit that I think Jeremy's compositions are better overall than the classics covered by him on the bonus disc though, regardless of how strange it may sound.

Conclusion. If pop music from the '60s and early '70s is to your liking, this album should be high up on your list of releases to check out, and diehard fans of this style better get the limited edition with bonus disc included before it sells out, especially if The Beatles and similar sounding artists are among your favorites.

OMB: November 5, 2008
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