The first full-length album by Nine Times Blue proves that power pop is alive and well in the Atlanta area.
Vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Kirk Waldrop, guitarist Greg King, bassist Jeff Nelson, and drummer Jason Brewer have developed a sound that channels such artists as The Smithereens and Marshall Crenshaw and in places reminds one of elements of The Squeeze and the Gin Blossoms. .
Falling Slowly consists of nine original tracks that contain catchy melodies and tight harmonies. The jangling guitars play off a heavy bass sound. The production is precise, which gives the music a crisp and clear sound. My only criticism is that most of the tracks are similar and difficult to tell apart as they flow into one another. On the positive side, they are upbeat and highly listenable and if you like one track, you will probably like them all.
The band has been a work in progress since their formation in Washington D.C. during 1999. That first incarnation lasted until 2004. The band reformed in the Atlanta area during 2007 and functioned mainly as an acoustic duo with a few full band performances at various events in the state of Georgia. Nine Times Blue’s current sound and line-up coalesced during the recoding of this album and it seems to be a style that will serve them well.
The album’s opening title track and “So Much Time,” the ninth listed track, serve as bookends for the album and are a microcosm of their sound. They blast out of the speakers with energy and continually draw the listener back with a return to established chord patterns. There is an economy to their sound which keeps the focus on each song’s structure. “Grace” is a song where the focus is more on the lyrics, as sometimes they get lost in the catchy nature of the music and melodies.
While nine tracks are listed, there is a tenth track with no title or mention in the liner notes and has a slower and different feel from what proceeds it.
Nine Times Blue have released a fine debut album that will hopefully push them to explore more directions within their style and sound. It’s a perfect album for the car stereo system and dance floor.