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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Novelty Island

How Are You Coping With This Century?

Review by Gary Hill

I'd like to address the elephant in the room at the onset. This music often sounds a lot like The Beatles. That said, the act is, like the Fab Four, from Liverpool, so it might be hardwired in the DNA. This does move beyond that connection at varying points and to varying degrees. It's all accessible pop rock music, though. And, you are talking that kind of music, you can't do much better than Beatles influences.

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Track by Track Review
This Bird
Acoustic guitar starts the album. The vocals come in over the top as that remains the only instrument. It's a strummed approach, rather than a picked one, though. I'm definitely reminded of The Beatles on this, but with some hints of more modern sound, too. Other instruments are added as the song continues, and it's an energetic and catchy romp.
Cowboy On A Bicycle
With a bouncy sort of bluegrass meets pop rock vibe, this is fun. It's catchy. It's also intriguing and classy.
Michael Afternoon
A bit more on the rocking side, this has a lot of psychedelia in the mix. It's also another with so much Beatles-influence that it's scary. That said, the short guitar solo actually makes me think of Klaatu more than the direct Beatles reference.
An acoustic guitar based jazzy arrangement is on the menu for this mellower tune. I'm reminded of both The Beatles and to some degree Prince on this. I like the bass sound on the tune, and the whole number just oozes charm.
This tune has some proggy angles built into it. Of course, that's tempered by the basic Beatles-like pop rock we have come to expect here.
Blackcurrant Sky
I love the dreamy, almost proggy vibe on this song a lot. As good as everything here is, the psychedelic pop edge of this makes it one of my favorites on the disc.          
Citrus Wood
More of a rocker, this still has some healthy helpings of dreamy psychedelia built into it.
Feeling a bit jazzy, this is bouncy and fun. The Beatles thing is pretty well gone here. While this isn't one of the standouts for me, I do enjoy the variety it brings to the disc.
Blank Wine
I really dig the jangly pop rock sound on this one. It also has some dreamy psychedelic angles to it.
I'll Sleep In April
A bit more stripped back at first, this one has some glam rock in the mix, but also plenty of power pop. It has some interesting changes.
Turtle Rock
I really love the classic rock vibe on this. It has plenty of glam rock built into it. It feels like something that would have been at home on the radio in the early 1970s. It has some great hooks and hints of psychedelia.
A mellower number, this has some of that Beatles thing at play. It also has a dreamy vibe to it.
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