The rocker "Spread Your Wings" is both elemental and lyrical, while "Brand New Dance" brings the Prince-like funk. The versatile Chris Barczynski can sing, emote, and scream like the greats. He can deliver ballads like "House of Cards" and "Beautiful Dreamer" as convincingly as he sings the rockers. The rest of the band shines equally brightly, from the ballads to the dynamic, Zeppelin-inspired "Swallow" and the blues-rocker "Wrong Side of the World."
True Heart, The Road
Speaking of the Eagles: True Heart's Ross Vick is able to sing decisively and plaintively at the same time. This magical combination breathes life into his well-crafted pop-rock songs. Though Vick is from Texas, the biggest influence here seems to be Eagles-era California smooth rock. There's definitely some Jackson Browne in his vocal tone.
Jazz-pop changes evoke Steely Dan and even Chicago, though you won't hear anyone blowing through anything here - it's all resolutely guitar and keyboard based (with dead-on bass and drums by James Driscoll and Matt Kellum respectively). Cliches overrun the lyrics, but the lilting pop melodies, sugary vocals, and expert musicality harmlessly absorb them.
Julian Sakata, See?
Another artist heavily influenced by music of the 1970s is Julian Sakata, but his heroes are the darker-tinged, artsier rockers like David Bowie and Elvis Costello (and, going back further, perhaps the Moody Blues). His best songs, like the three that open the disc, and the anthemic "Everything's Beautiful Once," are thick and muscular. Where he falls down, as in "Little Sun," is when his writing is too derivative of current pop hits, and Sakata's baritone vocals start to sound monotonous. Still, the best stuff here is well worth hearing.