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Music Review: Band Of The Week – Willie Herath – Cohgie Never Landed

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I love the smell of the beach; even here in Scotland it smells the same. The sweet scent of the crisp air, the salty clean aroma of the water, the sandy whiff on a windy day. Nothing seems as pure or inspiring as that smell. You can feel the draw, the energy of an active life in that smell. That smell reminds me of summer too, the warmth, the sun, the kinetic nature of both seem so perfectly balanced. And I love music that reminds me of that smell, and of summer. The Beach Boys, although slightly out-dated, remind me, so does Jack Johnson, but his brand of beachy music is a bit too sedate for me; the beach after smoking a joint.

But if you mixed Jack and the Beach Boys with Barenaked Ladies and maybe threw in a bit of Weezer you would just about have it. And that is just what Willie Herath has done, he has created aurally the smell of summer and the beach with lively, fresh, animated music. This man, who himself reeks of surfer boy – but really he is an Illinois native – and his self-described “nod your head beach rock” are the epitome of summer beach music: happy, energetic and fun.

Willie’s debut album Cohgie Never Landed with its breezy musical mixes, buoyant lyrics and lively, guileless, vocals starts off with “Sticky Flip-Flop”, an anarchic track about Willie’s friend getting a bloody toe on his couch. With bizarrely mismatched lyrics – influenced no doubt by his off-beat sense of humour — and Willie singing some puberty-defying vocals it somehow all comes together and creates the perfect introduction to his agile music.

The second track on Cohgie Never Landed, “Electric Sun”, has what can only be described as beach-rap towards the end. Why a surfer boy from L.A. would need to sing about a sun-lamp tan I have yet to reason, but here it is and that’s what it’s about. The real perfection of this song is that beachy-rap complete with happy hand claps and a group sing-along. It’s a must-hear.

“Come Home” is a ballad with an aching heart. This slower, beautiful track is a heart-felt plea from one lover to another. The acoustic feel of this melancholy and passionate song will tug at your emotions. Also on the slower side are “Drive”, “Something’s Broken”, “Hollywood”, and “Back And Forth”. Even through these acoustic, singer-songwriter style tracks are more sombre than the rest, you can still feel the influences of the Beach Boys and Weezer in there. The passion is never over-bearing, the woebegone emotion never out of sync. Willie slows it down without coming to a complete stop.

Cohgie Never LandedThe sunny-side favourites are “Shake It Up Baby”, “Wake Up June”, “So Perfect” and “On The Way Back Home”. The last song is Willie’s comical taken on being stuck in traffic, on a hot day, with no air conditioning, and then getting stuck behind a little old lady doing 15 in a 50 zone. You won’t be able to keep the laughter from bubbling up.

Cohgie Never Landed is a picnic on the beach for everyone — sun, surf, sand and a bit of beach volleyball, even a romantic walk, hand in hand along the beach through the waxing tide and waning sun. Willie Herath has written and recorded a album that will make you smile, that will make your heart smile, too. Cohgie Never Landed will inspire you. You will feel young, vital, and eager for activity after the very first listen.

You can hear some of the tracks from Cohgie Never Landed on Willie's MySpace space. It is also available to download from iTunes. You can also purchase Cohgie Never Landed at Willie's secure online shop.

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About A.L. Harper