Archive | September, 2015

No Longer a Stranger

27 Sep

At first it seems like Charles Perry’s “Stranger to Love” has nothing in common with retro themes. Perry’s voice is quiet and unassuming, and when the chorus strikes up he takes things up a notch with belting vocals over an electronic background.

But pay attention closely, especially to that catchy chorus and you may hear some similarity to some other well known tunes. It’s a bit Elton John “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” in its melody with a bit of Roxy Music’s “More Than This.” But it is abundantly clear that this tune is rooted in the present.

What starts off as a singer/songwriter track erupts into more of a dance hall type of song. The changes in tempo, from slow to fast, make it the type of track one might expect to hear at the top of the charts. Perry’s voice is both delicate, folk-like, and powerful. He’s also got a lot of soul in him, something akin to Stevie Wonder when he hits his high register.

While “Stranger to Love” may not be outright retro inspired, the fact that one can still find the throwback elements in the song make it an updated retro fun experience.

Discography: The Soul Superhero (2015)

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Upwards and On!

20 Sep

With an intricate background instrumentation of plinking guitars and a defining drumming beat, The Helio Sequence’s “Upward Mobility” is strikingly modern. But lead singer Brandon Summer’s vocals straddle the fine line between current and retro.

Summers has a Bono like quality to the tone of his voice and the way he croons throughout the song in a midtempo manner. Not quite a ballad, not quite the toe tapper “Upward Mobility” is a fine example of the type of tunes U2 puts out. You might even find some of U2 “Another Time Another Place” in this song. But the track is also something that resembles something that the more recent band Keane would release.

The melody is fresh, again sitting somewhere between the 80’s and the early 2000s. It is smooth and pleasant to the ears, verses and choruses equally fantastic. But as the tune amps up to the electrified charge of the chorus, things become a little more intense, balancing a tame sound with something with more fire, leaving listeners with a spellbounding experience.

The bottom line is that if you like alternative rock in the same vein as Keane and U2, you will eat up “Upward Mobility.”

Discography: The Helio Sequence (2015)

Official Website:

Strut Your Stuff!

13 Sep

The Struts are making quite a name for themselves recently in the U.S. with their retro infused single “Could Have Been Me.” If you haven’t heard the song before, let me introduce you. It’s an alternative rock pop anthem that is made for an arena.

Lead singer Luke Spiller is getting comparisons to Queen’s Freddie Mercury and they are well deserved. The way Spiller alternates between pure rock in his voice, edgy, spilling onto the chorus with a burst of energy that just radiates from throughout is a thing of pure joy is refreshing to the ear

It’s like a combination of “We Will Rock You” at times in its catchiness, foot stomping chorus, and more subtle verses a la part “Bicycle Race”

The retro influences are worn proud on The Struts sleeve, and the Queen comparisons only continue beyond the music with Spiller’s flamboyant glam rock presence. “Could Have Been Me” is an anthem for all those who want to live their lives to the fullest, a concept most will have an easy time relating to.

The lyrics are simple and that is what part of what makes the song so infectious, but the little touches The Struts put into the song, from handclaps to Spiller’s rolling pronunciations, makes “Could Have Been Me” an electrified tune that any retro rock enthusiast will fall head over heels for.

Discography: Have You Heard EP (2015).

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