Spins and Reviews | 9.13.16 | by Alan Haber
Welcome to day one of Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Bowl, a celebration of some of the new songs and artists being added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. Among the hundreds of additions we’ve made over the past few weeks, all now playing in rotation on our air, a pair of new releases has especially caught my ear. I give you the latest from Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club, and a toe-tapping duet from Michael Carpenter and Allan Caswell.
Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club | Benches
When I included Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club’s last album, Nothing to be Afraid Of, in my list of favorite records of the year in November 2014, I called it “…perhaps the brightest, most inventive, most sincere and happiest-sounding melodic work of the year.” And I was right, too.
I’m right now as well, calling this new release a monumentally towering testament to melodic and harmonic excellence. There is nothing quite like Kate Stephenson’s take on melodic pop music, just as there is nothing like her soaring imagination, her ability to express all manner of emotion, and make the listener feel. There is nothing quite like Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club.
Clever lyrics, winsome melodies, and heaven-sent vocal harmonies abound. Songs like “Sun, Where’ve You Gone,” a plea to the reluctant big daddy of shining stars to stop hiding behind clouds and do its thing (“Face it you’re lazy/At best hazy from what I can see”) and the glorious “Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys,” about moving on and distinguishing oneself in the big, waiting world (“Checking out to find my rosebuds/Adios and toodle-oo/Not my circus, not my monkeys”) are just two examples of the level of Kate’s peerless songcraft.
Kate’s three-dimensional harmony vocal stacks especially shine in two of this album’s best songs. “Somebody Called Me an Onion” is a smile-inducing, upbeat, energetic pop song with faux-reggae shadings about peeling back the layers to reveal the full, human package of emotion (“If I’m going to get rumbled down the line/My laundry’s hanging out there to dry”), and the delicious, a cappella “Silent Letter,” a song about inner beauty and the sanctity of thought that doesn’t always have to be laid bare in song (“There’s more real beauty in this/Than my voice could ever reveal”).
These lovely creations, played to perfection by Kate and musical partner John Steel, will enrich your life in all sorts of meaningful ways. In popular art and in these songs played under the Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club banner, there is beauty and there is love. Just as Nothing to be Afraid Of shone brightly in 2014, Benches will shine when this year’s best albums are tallied in just a few months.
Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys,” “What’s the Worst that Can Happen,” “Benches,” “Sun, Where’ve You Gone,” “Tired,” “Mirroring,” “Somebody Called Me an Onion,” and “Silent Letter.”
Where to Get It: Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club’s website
Michael Carpenter and Allan Caswell | “Back When I Was Older”
Pop music’s not-so-secret weapon Michael Carpenter and legendary, award-winning singer-songwriter Allan Caswell team up for a country-rock and pop song about people of a certain age filtering through life experience and using the knowledge gained to live a better, smarter, more productive, and happier life. Caswell is a legend in Australia–more than 600 of his songs have been waxed by artists as diverse as Cilla Black, Patti Page, and the Irish Rovers. This collaboration with Carpenter is a winner in every way; it’s an incredibly catchy earworm, with a solid beat, bass line, lively vocals, and one of those melodies that hugs you tightly. “Back When I Was Older” can’t help but be a smash hit. And to me, it surely is.
Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
Where to Get It: CD Baby, iTunes.