Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio

Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio is the archive for the premiere website that covered the melodic pop scene with in-depth reviews of new and reissued recordings, and a wide variety of features. We are now closed for new activity.

Charming, Bittersweet “Sabina” Points to Fine Fall Album Release from Michael Oliver and the Sacred Band

Michael Oliver
Michael Oliver

I cannot remember the last time I was so charmed by a song that I played it over and over again upon receipt. Only seconds into the first single from the forthcoming, hopefully late-Fall-ish album by Michael Oliver and the Sacred Band, Everything Sunny All the Time Always, I was thanking my lucky stars that such a wonderful creation (in the form of a great-sounding studio rough) had fallen into my lap. The album, you should know, is being recorded with Ducky Carlisle at his Ice Station Zebra studio in Medford, Massachusetts.

I’ve been a big fan of Michael’s for a long time. News of a new album on the horizon made me stand up and take notice. The new song, “Sabina,” which sees its Pure Pop Radio premiere tonight at 8:30 pm ET and will subsequently be spinning in hot rotation after that, is an expertly crafted, lovely, mid-tempo ballad–a heartstring tugger about loss, about sensory memory, about love, about life. Michael says the song is about a cat or life. Yes and yes.

Following a gorgeous, riff-based opening (played out atop a haunting, ghostly percussion track), Michael sings, “If she’s gone, then why do I call her name and wait for her quiet games?” as the sensory memory sets in. And then, the heartbreaking chorus, punctuated by a sensitive accordion sample, played to perfection: “Sabina’s gone but not forgotten…but something in my heart still lingers. I close my eyes and find her there.”

The final chorus adds an inventive background vocal wash, underpinned by hope, and a closing, sadly and ultimately life affirming observation: “And sometimes we all feel bruised and battered. We all need to know somehow it matters.”

As I said, this is a heartstring tugger. Michael is in fine form on the song, his vocal acutely observed. “Sabina” is a triumph. Listen to the song’s Pure Pop Radio premiere tonight at 8:30 pm ET. Hear it in rotation after that, and keep a look out for Everything Sunny All the Time Always mere months from now. The fall, or thereabouts, is looking up already.

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Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes
Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

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