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Blow Up Hollywood - Fake CD (album) cover


Blow Up Hollywood

Crossover Prog

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4 stars Blow Up Hollywood grows up on their second album.

Gone is the house at the sea front which served as a recording studio. This time, Blow Up Hollywood lock themselves into a state of the art recording studio and does the album this way.

The result is a much more considered expression. The big difference is a more dense sound with more than one reference to the likes of R.E.M and Pink Floyd. There is also a lot of references to electronica music here. In other words, a very modern sound which should win the band a lot of new friends among the art rock fans. And it did. This album is a pretty major success which opened up a lot of doors for this band. It is easy to understand why.

The sound is still dominated by the vocalist Steve Messina and his understated, but still excellent vocals. The other dominant instrument is the elegant synth. There is also a lot of guitars on this album. Even some slide guitars. Low and behold; there is even guitar solos here ! The addition of the guitars has added another dimension to this band and improved their sound. But Blow Up Hollywood, despite of their bomb(astic) name, still use an understated sound where less is more. And it works like a treat.

The quality is superb throughout. This album even have a signature song......... and dare I say it...... a hit. This song is called Ocean and it is a brilliant song. Some melancholic sounding verses dominated by the vocalist and then there is a long guitar solo from the excellent Thad DeBrock. This is four minutes of pure magic, no less. The rest of the songs are in the same vein too. They all follow a melancholic, but still strangely uplifting pattern.

This album is an album for the silent nights alone or together with the special person in your life. It is also a progressive album which also takes the best from the American songbook and merges that into this album. This album leaves me very uplifted indeed.

4 stars

Report this review (#281295)
Posted Tuesday, May 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars A recent rediscovery for me are this nigh on un-categorisable and enigmatic band from New York. Fronted by Steve Messina (voice/guitar), ably assisted by Thad DeBrock (guitars, processing), Dave Eggar (cello) and Daniel Mintseris (keyboards).

This, their second album, was released in 2004, and is a lovingly produced musical journey through love and loss. Fake it certainly is not. Haunting, melancholic and uplifting by turns, there are ten songs on the album, five with vocals, five instrumentals. A simple but effective musical motif runs through the album like lettering in a stick of rock (rock candy for our American friends), reappearing for the final time on the last track DMK, the oddest of the instrumentals featuring what sounds like backwards keyboards. Buried in the middle of the album is the gorgeous love song Oceans, which you can easily imagine being played in stadium sized venue, audience with lighters aloft. My only gripe is that the wonderful slide (or bottleneck) guitar break is not long enough - maybe they extend it in a live setting? The title track has another highly personal lyric presumably from Steve, the song starts with a late Floydian sounding acoustic, and builds into a highly atmospheric and climatic coda.

Much as I hate making comparisons, I concede that for newcomers to a band it can be helpful, so here goes. The obvious influence is late period Floyd, but with a slightly less proggy edge. Believe it or not I could well imagine Robbie Williams singing the title track - stop laughing at the back, I mean it in a totally positive way!

Judge their consummate songcraft for yourself at their MySpace site. Oceans isn't on the there, but White Walls from this album is, along with some other fine examples of their songcraft.

An album for an introspective mood, with some lovely songs. Largely unknown outside of the USA, this band deserve to be heard.

Report this review (#336587)
Posted Saturday, November 27, 2010 | Review Permalink

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