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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Blue Skies For Black Hearts - Blue Skies For Black Hearts

Blue Skies For Black Hearts – Blue Skies For Black Hearts
2014, Blue Skies For Black Hearts

Blues Skies For Black Hearts are a Portland, Oregon quintet with serious pop sensibilities and power pop tendencies.  Blending heavy 1970s and 1980s influences with a modern AAA sound, the band has a consistently accessible sound that has carried them through 12 years, 5 albums and a number of lineup changes.  Their forthcoming self-titled album, due July 15, 2014, continues in the band’s tradition of working class, sweet sounding rock and roll.

Blue Skies For Black Hearts opens with "Keep On Keeping On", an easy going rocker with a memorable, easy to sing chorus. "It's Gone On Too Long" is a catchy Americana rocker with vibrant yet easy on the ears guitar work. Vocalist Pat Kearns has a down home sound that's appealing, and this song slips into your ears like butter on warm toast. "Nothing Came In The Mail" is a solid album cut that's accessible but doesn't call attention to itself.   "Love Songs" finds BSFBH reaching back into the 1950's for a mellow pop ballad sound. This works well, save for the messy backing vocals.  "You Gotta Quit Kickin' My Dog" has great energy and a decidedly low-fi aesthetic that will find it kicking around your head for hours.

"Waiting To Run" is a gentle pop rocker about the imminent failure of a commitment. The pop sensibility and guitar work here calls a resemblance to Blue Rodeo, with a lonely vocal flourish that can only be laid at the feet of Brian Wilson. "The Past" is a middle of the road rocker, a solid album cut. "Don't Look Back" is a catchy little rocker that sounds like it should be a cover tune. Various elements of the song will be highly familiar to fans of classic rock. BSFBH closes with "Back Home", a nondescript number that's more numbing than anything else. While sonically safe, the song doesn't do much to call listeners back again.

Blues Skies For Black Hearts succeeds in promulgating a sound that’s steeped in the past but ready for the moment.  The band’s sixth album is their smoothest and most appealing to date.  Blues Skies For Black Hearts spend most of their time hidden away in the Northwest, but do have some planned dates coming up in California this July.  Catch them if you can.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

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