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Friday, May 23, 2014

Mike Delledera Band - WakeUpSideDowntown


Mike Delledera Band – WakeUpSideDowntown
2014, Ivy Productions, Inc.

Brooklyn-based artist Mike Delledera is an imaginative singer/songwriter whose influences range the
gamut from 1970’s psychedelic rock to 21st century pop-rock.  Together with a group of longtime musical friends and cohorts as The Mike Delledera Band, Mike recently released his full-length debut album, WakeUpSideDowntown.  It is an uneven yet highly ambitious effort that places The Mike Delledera Band squarely on the need to know list.

WakeUpSideDowntown opens with "Silver Ruby Diamond Blues", a sweet honky-tonk style romp with quasi pop-cabaret flair. This is a great tune to open with; a memorable toe-tapper that you can't sit through. The piano work here is serious business, and the country style electric guitar is exquisite lot done. "Sugar Face" is a soul-romp of a love song. Catchy but very simple, with cloying lyrics that sound like a novelty tune.  "Gypsy Soul" is an ultra-smooth piece of 1970's AM radio pop, and leads into the island rhythms and abject silliness of "Bounce".

Delledera then leads his band into the emotional wastelands of "Zen", three plus minutes of painful naval gazing melancholy. While well crafted musically, the lyrics and vocal take on a laborer feel. "Main Street USA" has a bit more pop to it, donning a hip 1970's soul funk rhythm with backing vocals to match. This has a nice feel, but makes the mistake of incorporating a rap that tries to sound liberal but manages to botch ideologies from both sides of the political spectrum.

"Can't Stop Rockin'" has a funky groove and gets caught in your brain until the chorus comes along and the vibe falls apart.   This could turn into something big with the right chorus.  "Broken Angel" is a messy pop/rocker with some nice musical components. Lyrically weak, the son is too steady musically to make much of an impression. The Mike Delledera Band closes with "The Music Echoes On", a reflection on the power of music and its connection to life events. There's some serious country posture to the guitar work here, but the net effect is somewhat cloying as the song progresses.

The songwriting on WakeUpSideDowntown is messy and uneven at times, with lyrics that occasionally manage to gum up the works.  Delledera gets it right more often than not, though, and the musical content of the album is well-crafted.  The interplay between the members of The Mike Delledera Band is crisp, professional and highly original.  This is an ensemble that has found its niche, and Delledera is honing his skills as a songwriter.  It’s a very solid start, and promises even better for the future.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

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