A couple years ago, I reviewed Nine Times Blue's Falling Slowly (here) and was taken with their upbeat, snappy, friendly sound. Every so often, a band comes along that figures out how to do pop music right, and their work jumps right into the ear and saturates the brain, waking the heart up, everything coalescing into precisely what this sub-genre of music was intended to do. For me, the absolute classic in this regard was Barnaby Bye's Touching and then LPs by obscure groups like Byzantium and others. In my reviews in FAME pages, Turbine (here) still stands out distinctly, and I was turned on to Keane over at The Buzz About (here). Well, Nine Times Blue has released a great follow-up CD-EP, and Falling After You, the opening cut, grabs ya from the opening chords in the same manner of all the aforenamed bands.
Then Sometimes wells up with its subtle basswork and balladic nature in Kirk Waldrop's plaintive voice, soon joined by bandmates…and backing vocals are so damned important in this kind of sound. Long ago, bands like Smokie, The Records, and multiplex others were wrongly bid up to be masters of the craft, but, well, they weren't, and even current revivification efforts (esp. re: Smokie) are failing abysmally 'cause the guys just didn't have the chops. NTB does, and Waldrop's voice, guitar, writing, and arranging skills are the key…especially that killer six-string work. Man, so damn delicious!, much like, as I've said previously, Mick Dyche and Loz Netto in Sniff 'n The Tears or Pete Allerhand in Interview, gents who absorbed their influences so well that they burst into new territory with rare precision.
Ignore the cover "art" to this release, it's totally sterile and inappropriate to the music, ridiculously inapposite, and think instead in terms of the sound of Dramarama and other craftsmasters who kept turning out great work that should've gone over big in the fickle market but didn't (goddammit, when are self-directing DJs ever going to return to the airwaves?!). Ya gotta have progrock, ya hafta have jazz, and you should be into good avant-garde, but you also need great pop, and, that being the case, both of Nine Times Blue's CDs should be in your collection.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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