Sunday, March 8, 2009

Blue Skies For Black Hearts on SKYSCRAPER MAGAZINE

Serenades and Hand Grenades CD ­ King Of Hearts
There¹s no doubt who influences Portland, Oregon, pop quartet Blue Skies for Black Hearts. Pat Kearns, Michael Lewis, Kelly Simmons, and Paul Noel continue the English tradition of the early Beatles, Kinks, Hollies, et al, on the group¹s latest retro-trip, Serenades and Hand Grenades. They recreate bouncy early to mid-sixties pop without irony or cynicism. Thankfully, Kearns is a keen song scribe who rarely hits a foul ball, and he gives these12 tracks an infectious quality and bright character. Leadoff single "Siouxsie Please Come Home" has a timeless Flamin¹ Groovies power-pop affectation. "A World Without Love" and "Sweet Valentine" deliver a convincing British invasion inclination, particularly Paul Noel¹s rollicking Ringo Starr-ish drumming. Trumpet filigreed deception rumination "Jenny & Steve" has a studied baroque pop edge, a style firmly demonstrated on melancholic album closer "Someday There Will Be Better Days." Meanwhile, "She¹ll Follow Me" and galloping pop pill "Pretty People" have a contemporary angle akin to indie-pop artists such as The Apples in Stereo and Dressy Bessy. Some days you just need a simple escape from the day¹s troubles, and the concise guitar lines, enthusiastic and personable vocals, and unadorned drum beats supplied by Blue Skies for Black Hearts are the vitamin for those cloudy times.
(Doug Simpson)

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