Saturday, 23 February 2013
Review: Obscuriosity [Stephen Lawrenson]
#502: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Yours Truly KJS was most pleased when Stephen Lawrenson first contacted me a couple of weeks ago about his newly released album "Obscuriosity".
Stephen has been following ELO Beatles Forever for some time and felt that his new recording would appeal to folks who visit ELOBF being as he is a huge Jeff Lynne fan and that recent reviews of "Obscuriosity" [as well as his other two albums "Somewhere Else" and "Every Summer"] have mentioned the obvious influence of the ELO maestro. The ten track CD arrived earlier this week after traversing the Atlantic and even after one play, it strikes me as a very good album. Indeed, after reading this overview of the album on his CDBaby page before that, I immediately bought the mp3 downloads of "Words To Say" and "Pale Yellow" - out of "Obscuriosity" - and was literally "Blown Away" by them upon my first listen:
"WOW!! Stephen makes quite a pop splash here on his 2013 Kool Kat debut! And to drive home this point, the crack "Pop Squad" of Kool Kat insiders/contributors cheerfully chime in! "Playing every note on the record, he proudly wears his pop influences on his sleeve. Tell me "Small White House" wouldn't pass for a Brian Wilson-penned song. His inner Jeff Lynne pops up on both "Pale Yellow" and the 12-string laced "Words To Say"" [Count Keef]; "It's intelligent, well written, and completely catchy. Awesome, just awesome power pop, with loads of great hooks, melodies and harmonies. It rocks. It moves you. A masterful malange of 60's, 70's, and 80's guitar rock mixed and matched with no concern for the name check. That's how good this is. Five stars isn't enough. Six, maybe!" [MR Gomez]; "What do you think would happen if you threw The Goldbergs, The Beatles, Three Hour Tour, Teenage Fan Club [in their fuzzy period], Big Star, The Posies [circa "Frosting On The Beater"], "Pet Sounds" period Brian Wilson, and the Electric Light Orchestra into a giant pop blender? You'd get Stephen Lawrenson, that's what!" [Max Humphries]; Well guys, you've summed Stephen up quite nicely we must say!"
"Obscuriosity" is a fine album, full of originality, verve [with those Jeff Lynne influences apparent] and varying musical styles. This is a fine showcase for this particular singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. From the manic opener "Your Karma" to the signature title track to the superlative "Words To Say" [which is more Beatlesque than even the Fab Four were themselves at times!] to "Small White House" [very much later Beach Boys] to the bass driven power pop of "Second Time Around" [reminiscent of Paul Weller and later The Jam] to the rousing, multi-layered, marvellous choir-backed closer "Pale Yellow" [which could be an ELO track in anything other than name], the whole album is a wonderful expose of the talent who is Stephen Lawrenson. I like it ... a lot! [10/10]
You can check out and purchase the music of Stephen Lawrenson including "Obscuriosity" for your good selves by visiting these web sites thus:
ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends "Obscuriosity" by Stephen Lawrenson to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Move, The Idle Race, 'Brum Beat', The Beatles and related artistes.
Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 23-Feb-2013