Thursday, January 08, 2009

CD of the Day, 1/8/09-Leave-On a Happy Note...

The Chicago band Leave has always been a favorite, featured on various IPO comps and for their fine 2005 album I'd Rather Not say. So it was extremely sad to hear that lead singer/guitarist Mike Murphy passed away last June. By that point, the band had done much of the recording of their third album, and they were able to release their swan song, On a Happy Note... late last year. As the title indicates, the album is an upbeat affair and an affirmation of, and tribute to, Murphy's talent and devotion to his craft.

Leave has always been one of the better "midwestern power pop" bands, the term indicating power pop with a rootsy influence. The breezy and infectious "Hope It Doesn't Come My Way" (featured on the latest IPO compilation) opens the disc and has a Merseyside-meets-Chicago sound. "Take the Easy Way Out" is a fine jangling track that recalls a poppier early R.E.M., and the garage rock of "Again It's Too Soon" is another highlight. Other standouts include the "On My Mind", reminiscent of "If I Needed Someone"; the bright, Gin Blossoms-esque pop of "I'll Get Mine", and the roots rock of "Your Eyes".

RIP, Mike Murphy - you may no longer be with us, but your music always will.

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