Mark Paul Smith and his band of merry minstrels are back with
Falling Star, a second collection of easy-on-the-ear
"middle-of-the-road" songs sure to please adult fans who aren't
afraid to venture out of the suburbs to catch live music. As on their
self-titled debut, each of the 13 songs exudes professionalism, from
the mature songwriting to the playing to the production. As the kids
say, "It's all good."
It may be the time of the year, but the intro of the opening song,
"That Don't Mean A Thing," sounds especially Christmassy to me. The
song itself is an uptempo, humorous commentary on the worthlessness
of stuff with lyrics like "Your wife still looks pretty good / When
she's dressed in black," sung in Smith rocky, Randy Newman style.
Bassist John Morreale and drummer Thomas Cooley slip comfortably into
a deep pocket in such tunes as the Beatle-influenced, badboy romp of
"For A Good Time" and the grungy "LakeShore Drive." Gritty guitars
add a bit of oomph to the mix of "Wishful Thinking," a mid-tempo,
minor-key rocker that's filled with tension, resulting in an
extremely passionate guitar solo that rides the song to a satisfying
conclusion, compliments of Kerry Marx.
Guest musicians add extra spice, such as Kenny Taylor on rhythm
guitar and Larry Pester grinding the organ on such songs as "Falling
Star" and "Jody Baby." Nick Galucsy adds accordion to "Dream World,"
a touching ballad with classic Jimmy Buffet feel and sweet lyrics
such as "I thought I had everything I needed / Until I started
needing you." "So Close To You" is a pleasant, slow dance song with
light guitar, an encouraging melody and plenty of piano, although
nowhere near the amount as found in "Hello Moscow," where the piano
agreeably dominates the song while Victoria Williams (aka Diamond
Lil) sings backing vocals to such crowd-pleasing lines as "Rock and
roll is here to stay."
Space doesn't permit a full evaluation of each song, but suffice it
to say that, as on the first album, every note is in its proper place
for maximum hook, creating a modern update on the classic rock albums
of the 70s. In addition to the sonic perfection brought about by
Robin Jenny at Sweetwater Sound, the artwork is amazing, giving yet
another edge over the competition. If Mark Paul Smith and Co. keep
producing music of this caliber, their star will be anything but
falling. For more info click over to www.DiveBomberz.com.
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July 21 • Sweetwater Performace Pavilion