Thursday, May 06, 2010

CD of the Day, 5/6/10: Seth Swirsky-Watercolor Day

When the creative pop genius who made up one-half of The Red Button (who had my #1 disc of 2007) decides to unleash a solo disc, and when he gets Cloud Eleven's Rick Gallego to produce it, well it's, as Joe Biden would put it, a big f---ing deal. Watercolor Day is Seth Swirsky's second proper solo album, and it's conclusive proof that he hasn't lost his pop touch.

Now for those who heard his Beatlesque solo debut (2004's Instant Pleasure) and loved the fab Red Button disc, you might have expected the Anglophile Swirsky to spell the title Watercolour Day. But instead of setting his pop sights on 60s England, Swirsky has invoked the sounds of California and "sunshine pop" here. Instead of the swinging London sound of "Ooh Girl" we heard on She's About to Cross My Mind, another track from the Red Button album fits the new template a bit more: the Bacarach/Alpert influence heard in "Floating By". The best example of this is "Distracted", a piano-and-horn backed tune with "ba ba ba" vocals and an effortless flow. Swirsky also gets in tune with his inner early 70s solo McCartney, on the title track and "Song for Heather", a couple of acoustic guitar-based gems.

But it's summertime pop that dominates - "Summer in Her Hair" bears Gallego's stamp, and "Sand Dollar" is a buoyant romp. Brian Wilsonesque harmonies dominate "Amen" and "She's Doing Fine", and there are several shorter, interstitial tracks that add to the mood. And "I'm Just Sayin'" serves a kind of a medley/summation of the disc, with several of the earlier tracks on the disc name-dropped. It almost goes without saying that this is a easy top 10 of '10 candidate. And Swirsky promises a new Red Button disc in the fall, so the field might be fighting over just eight spots.

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Unknown said...

This is quite pretty, and would be a nice idea too, were it not for the fact that the album 'Watercolour Days' already exists - issued in 1971 by a Scottish Rock group called 'CLOUDS' (Island records; London Deram records). Different musical input, admittedly, but a definite worry over the concept and where the idea came from.

Daryll Collins said...

A definite worry?

Every creative idea, song, painting, etc. is inspired by what has come before. Does it really matter to you that two albums practically 40 years apart share the same album title? I mean, there are only so many words and combinations of words.

As you said, "different musical input", so I don't see what's the concern. Who knows if Swirsky has even heard of CLOUDS. I've been following music since the mid 60's and I've never heard of them.