New Release Rack: Sandy McKnight & the Idea’s “What Did You Expect?”

February 4th, 2014, 2:00 pm by Greg

Sandy McKnight: What Did You Expect?

CD review by Allison Gregory

A mixture of surf, ’60s rock ‘n’ roll and folk revival, ballads and a hint of smooth jazz, country-rock, and waltzes – what an idea!

Sandy McKnight & the Idea’s album What Did You Expect? (released in late October, 2013) gives the listener a large range of styles over 12 tracks which mesh perfectly together. From the opener “Never Miss a Trick” to the closer “Setting the World on Fire,” you’ll be hooked on this idea. Because of its catchy melody and chorus, “Never Miss a Trick” will get you hooked right at the start of this album. With a surf and pop-inspired sound and four-part harmony by Liv Cummins, Jennifer Bennett, Dave Labrecque and Craig Hazen, you’ll be singing along in no time. With Johnny Easy completing the live line-up, what else would you expect from a cast of experienced musicians like the ones Sandy McKnight brought together?

“Someone.” a catchy and lyrical song, covers up the pain and struggle of the people in the song with a light-hearted sound. By going from a soft, cheerful sound during the verses to a harder rock sound during the chorus and interludes, it accentuates the deeper meaning of the lyrics. Former David Bowie guitarist Earl Slick also makes a cameo on this song playing guitar and the enthralling and gripping fuzz guitar solo.

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CD: The Last Conspirators’ “A Celebration of Fury”

September 17th, 2013, 12:00 pm by Greg

The Last Conspirators: A Celebration of Fury

Review by Allison Gregory

A Celebration of Fury
(Driving Rain Music)

The Last Conspirators are about to unleash their third album, A Celebration of Fury, and they’re doing it in a big way with a CD release party performance at LarkFest in Albany on Saturday (September 21). Labeled by many as a punk band, these four musicians display their musical diversity with surf-inspired guitar in “Last Ones Standing,” ’60s jangling distorted guitar in “Radio Warfare,” the country/rock sound of “Somewhere Tonight in America” and ’60s psychedelic rock sprinkled in perfect proportions in “Desperate Skies.” After listening to the album, it’s apparent these guys are seasoned veterans at what they do.

The production of the album by the band’s guitarist Terry Plunkett is spectacular. All of the tracks are balanced. Throughout the album, there is not one song that has too much bass or an overpowering guitar part. The vocals are clear. It’s apparent that both the producer and Albany Audio’s John Chiara (who recorded and mixed the album) have keen ears and know how to make an album sound fantastic.

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