This is going to be a regular spot, hopefully so long as people send us lots of new albums to be reviewed.
For the first salvo, I’m looking at “Skeletons” by Memoryy.
I really enjoyed the track Damn Fine Predicament when it turned up on a recent Sounds On Sunday playlist, so when I was asked to listen to the album it came from, I was more than happy to do so.
Memoryy is electro-pop producer Shaun Hettinger, who is currently based in Alberquerque (cue Prefab Sprout earworm) and this album is his first full-length offering. Now, a confession. Electro-pop isn’t really my first listening port of call, nor something that I know a great deal about but one should always keep an open mind about such things.
So, what do I think? Well, I rather like it. The opening title track leads you into the main event, which is definitely bouncy, poppy and electronic. Indeed, so poppy that one track, Turn It Up ought to have been on the soundtrack of a 1980s John Hughes brat-pack film. Overall, it is a very clean-sounding album, very radio-friendly and pop-tastic. There are tracks here that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Kylie album, and that isn’t meant to be a put-down by any means. The overall vibe, to my ears anyway, is 80s FM pop filtered through a 21st century perspective. There is a bit of a BeeGees vibe going on too, which is probably intentional. Some of the hooks sound made for AOR radio, assuming that such a thing still exists. There is a keen sense of someone who knows exactly what they want to produce and, even more importantly, how to achieve it.
There is a rather clever reworking of Blue Öyster Cult’s (Don’t Fear) The Reaper, which works far better than you might imagine.
If there is a downside and, frankly there isn’t much music that doesn’t have a downside, it is that, to me it sounds too clean and glossy but I accept that Memoryy isn’t necessarily making music for confirmed old hippies and prog listeners like me. Having said that, though, it is very accomplished accessible and classy work. I could imagine Hall and Oates covering one or two of these, and I really like H&O.
So, this is clever, well-considered and well-produced pop music, ideal for a sunny day and a drive in the car. Give it a listen. You will listen to a lot worse stuff than this. I’ll definitely be listening to it again, and yeah, Damn Fine Predicament is still a very good song indeed.