Sunday, 18 December 2011

Review: Welcome To Soonville/The Neglected Gambit (Maxi Dunn)

#284: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Regular visitors to ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) will (hopefully) remember my post on 9th November entitled Review: Tape Recorders Changed Everything where Yours Truly KJS took a look at the new album by Cult of Wedge (a.k.a. Pete Hackett), who is a local performer, songwriter and producer heavily influenced by Jeff Lynne and (naturally) by extension ELO - especially if you have a listen to his new seasonal release "Christmas On The Moon". One of the artistes that Pete Hackett produces is a superb singer songstress from Prescott near Liverpool whose name is Maxine 'Maxi' Dunn. Her first CD self-release in 2009 was the 14 track "Welcome To Soonville" which was followed in 2011 by 12 track offering "The Neglected Gambit".

"Welcome To Soonville" is a collection of songs from Maxi that is part-produced by Pete Hackett (nine songs) and it ably demonstrates the full remit of Maxi Dunn's crystal clear voice and impressive song construction. Tracks such as the strong opener: "How Was I To Know" and sure fire foot tapper: "Always Be My Friend" are held in tension by the title track and a fine collection of songs of differing styles with the same theme of introspective regret and tentative forward steps.

"The Neglected Gambit" is a progression from "Welcome To Soonville" which displays the same smouldering back glance, lyrically, of romantic angst but is a little more jolly and positive of yet future days. It is this second CD where the partnership between Maxine and Pete comes into its own. The 'big sound' of Hackett's ELO influenced production values and from the rock fuelled title track to musical gems such as "Why Do I Want You?", "Make It Better", "You Took The Sunshine From My Heart", "Weather Warning" and "Winter Ghost". On this CD you can hear flamenco in one song, blues on the next and then a Beatlesque ditty after that! The layered backing vocals, for me, give away the influences of the producer - and beautifully support the song construction.

Folks that know me know that besides ELO, I'm a huge fan of ABC and Martin Fry too. Some of the bittersweet lovelorn angst of the songs on this duo of Maxi Dunn albums really take me back to the heady days of "The Lexicon Of Love" in 1982 with their tales of heart wrenching broken promises. It's a tremendous piece of work in the opinion of this particular writer and listener.

The CD versions of "Welcome To Soonville" and "The Neglected Gamble" are available direct from the official Maxi Dunn website (see below). You can also download some or all of her albums from or thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends independent artistes Maxi Dunn and Cult of Wedge to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 18-Dec-2011

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