Wednesday, April 25, 2007

CD of the Day, 4/25/07: Holmes- Stop Go

Who is Holmes? Is he one-half of the crime-fighting team of Holmes & Yo-Yo? (Man, I'm really dating myself with that reference) Is he the legendary detective Sherlock? Katie's brother? Nah - Holmes is actually LA's Roy Shakked (I guess "Holmes" scans better than "Shakked", although if he wanted to keep his own name he could have called his project "Shakked Up"), and his full-length debut Stop Go is one of the more engaging power pop productions of this soon-to-be-one-third-over year. Mixing in pop influences as varied as Ben Folds, Jeff Lynne (one of the current incarnation of ELO's cellists plays on the disc), Jellyfish, The Beatles, and maybe even a dash of Beck, he still manages to create an organic enough pop sound that in six months' time I'll probably be referring to some other artist as Holmeseque.

The piano is Holmes/Shakked's primary instrument, although he doesn't use it in as dominant a fashion as, say, Folds. The opener "Five Days a Week" (Beatles nod?) rocks along with a poppy punch that recalls The Argument, while "Wake Up", his signature track which anchored his self-titled EP of last year, is a delight that crams in more "na na na"s in 3:23 than "Hey Jude" did in 7 minutes. You'll go, not stop, with the title track, which bounces along like "Getting Better" with a more rocking guitar riff.

He can do the slow stuff too, as piano-and-acoustic-guitar ballad "Prove Me Wrong Again" proves, with its Penn/Brion/Dolieslager sound. Other highlights include "Grey World", which has enough Harrisonesque slide guitar and orchestration to come off as a combination of a typical Jeff Lynne/ELO ballad with Badfinger's "Day After Day"; "Be Alone", a more "modern"-sounding track that has handclaps galore, and "Nevermind", another lushly orchestrated ballad. Even the closing instrumental "Daydream No. 57" isn't bad, and I hate instrumentals.

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