Ralegh Long - Upwards of Summer

by James Gerard Rating:8 Release Date:2017-06-23

After enjoying widespread acclaim with his debut album (Hoverance) back in 2015, English singer/songwriter Ralegh Long is set to release Upwards of Summer, a rewarding slab of yesteryear-inspired jangle-pop that effectively side-steps any hint of sophomore-slump trappings.

While one might be tempted to dismiss Ralegh Long as merely the latest in a long line of well-intentioned acts dealing in the currency of nostalgia, to do so would be to miss the point entirely, as this particular brand of daydream-inducing power-pop is not so easily re-created.  Long's penchant for thoughtful lyrics mixed with less-than-obvious arrangements really help to set this record apart, further establishing his own unique identity in today's otherwise overcrowded singer/songwriter waters.

Upwards of Summer opens with the driving euphoric shimmer of “Take Your Mind Back” and the infectiously upbeat “Sleeping On My Dreams” before quickly settling into a more laid-back pace.  Songs like the quirky title track, the folk-leaning “Big August” and the mid-tempo confessional “You’re So Right” strongly evoke deep shades of alt-rock’s early 90’s heyday when bands like R.E.M and 10,000 Maniacs proved that crushing electric guitars need not define a band’s ability to ‘rock’.

The second half of Upwards of Summer’s starts off strongly, with both the jangly “Take It” and the country-tinged “Into The Woods” serving as album highlights.  From there the album reverts back to an introspective pace, with songs like the sparsely arranged “The Combine” and the heartfelt “Home” providing a reflective sense of closure to the album.

While it’s mostly an exercise in blissful meandering, Upwards of Summer has its fair share of sonic twists and turns.  Ralegh Long impressively rides the line between thoughtful pop and artful background music, crafting a record that works as the perfect soundtrack for both the Monday morning drive as well as a chill Sunday afternoon.

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