Kelley Stoltz - To Dreamers - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Kelley Stoltz - To Dreamers

by Miz DeShannon Rating:6 Release Date:2010-11-01

There's something to be said about originality, but there's also a lot to be said about the the resurgence in soul and garage music, with the likes of Aloe Blacc popping up, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings touring again, and The Rascals' Miles Kane pushing his solo career sounding and looking just like a 60s throw-back.

With obvious twangs of Love, The Byrds as well as Pop Levi and The Zutons, Kelley Stoltz's new album To Dreamers sounds like something you could have picked straight off the 'classics' shelf at King Bee Records. Full of straightforward songwriting, with a focus on poetic lyrics and harmonies rather than fancy guitar parts, the songs are full of simple 60s garage style guitar up-stroke riffs, violin, organ and sax.

The intro to the first track 'Rock n Roll with Me' sounds suspiciously like the intro to Love's 'My Flash On You', and as the album progresses through the flutes of 'Pinecone' (a dreamy folky number) these retro similarities are scattered throughout. The upbeat 'Keeping the Flame' would sit nicely alongside the sounds from new acts like The Soundcarriers or The Superimposers, whilst 'Fire Escape' is more of a straightforward stomp, a little like The Jam, with some odd psychedelic sounds overlaid here and there.

Sounding again like something you've definitely heard before, the slightly slower paced 'I Remember, You Were Wild' shows Stoltz's lovely poetic lyrics, about daydreaming and memories, and following this pace is 'Ventriloquist' which sadly does get a little plodding and snoozy. Another Love-a-like intro can be found on 'Baby I Got News for You' which is full of fuzzy bass and some guitar parts that go beyond strumming - I think I spotted a speedy chord change in the middle.

'Little Girl' is full of typical garage riffs and reverb, as well as a very Bruce Foxton type bassline, with 'I Don't Get That' having more 60s up-stroke strumming and lyrical harmonies. A sudden upbeat outburst of sax and hand-clapping pops up with 'I Like, I Like', if you liked Pop Levi and The Zutons, this is for you. Down on the musical rollercoaster again to a ballad type track, 'August' which just isn't musically inventive enough to keep me occupied in a downbeat song. 'Love Let Me in Again' with piano and brass is again a bit Zutons-y but more middle-of-the-road pop than the rest of the album, and the final song 'Bottle Up' has some prominent vintage guitar sounds on the middle eigth solo, finishing the album in slow and ballad-like mood.

It's hard to ascertain whether an album which leans so heavily on already heard sounds is good or not; do you give it some acclaim for sounding as good as the favoured acts from the past have, or do you slate it for not being original…? That huge debate aside, this is a really nice album to listen to. It peaks and troughs in tempo like a rollercoaster, and some songs are definitely not as strong as others, but this eighth album from Stoltz keeps the retro faith and those psychedelic San Fran sounds strong.

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