Pat Buchanan (Indiscreet)
Two elements in particular make this a little winner of an album, the début release of singer-songwriter Pat (who has just completed a tour with Jeff Finlin). Engaging lyrics that are allied to tuneful melodic lines, and the icing on the cake, an accomplished, highly savvy production (by Pat himself and Brad Jones) that embraces the very best of pop elements and sensibilities. Musically, and perhaps against all the odds, it entirely convinces, being a veritable kaleidoscope of "pet pop sounds" stretching onward from the mid-60s, a rich and diversely detailed tapestry which manages somehow to convey a real unity of artistic vision.
The evidence?: well, the bookending opening and closing tracks come on as easy, swinging-countrified Beach Boys-meets- Gentle-On-My-Mind jobs with prominent bass harmonica, then The Luckiest Girl brings the Small Faces into Wackers territory, Smile On My Face sort-of-crosses the Kinks with Lindisfarne, The World Is Flat has more than a touch of Simple Minds and 80s new-romanticism, there's an epic White-Album sweep to Under The Sun, then there's the faux-Doors organ swirl that introduces the clangingly guitar-heavy, driven swoon of Love Goes Up In Smoke, the Gothically icy orchestration of Glass, the gentler XTC/Squeeze influence permeating Insects and Angels. And those are just some of the intelligently-integrated musical reference points!
Of course, the lyrics revolve around love and romance, but the apparently straightforward images are tempered by Pat's ability to distil conventional feelings and experiences in economical expressions and choice musical settings. I can't single out a favourite track, simply because each and every one could be so at any time.
In the end, it's perhaps the press handout that's most worth quoting, if only for its uncanny accuracy: this album is "a welcome reminder of how beautifully simple and effective pop can be". The only unwelcome thing about it is its disappointing playing-time (34 minutes).