For fans of early 80′s new wave pop, Whitejacket‘s Hollows And Rounds (self-released) will be pleasing to the mind. You will hear all of the pop rock treats that influenced those bands back then, including The Beatles, The Byrds, The Hollies, and eventually became some incredible music of not only the early 80′s, but the indie pop movement in the early 90′s as well. The intro to “Single Seagull” seems to play between The Beatles’ “Blackbird” and Led Zeppelin‘s “Bron-Y-Aur” a bit, but it’s not so much copying or borrowing from different songs or styles, but capturing and being able to interpret it differently to a new generation, or for those who loved them the first time around.
The only downside is that the album lacks a lot of bass and warmth. There is a bassist, credited to Lisa Pekarek, and I’m hearing it, but the entire album sounds like it was mastered through computer speakers. With music as rich as this, especially sections with acoustic instruments, I want to hear things breathe, be more lively, and sadly the lack of warmth in the sound tends to pull away from it slightly. If the album is meant to be heard with earbuds, that’s one thing, but if you have a good pair of headphones or even better, a decent stereo system, you’ll hear what I mean. What McDuffie needs to do is take the multitrack files to a remixer and/or mastering engineer and add some meat to the bones. Otherwise, it sounds like an unfinished demo or indie album that reached all of the stages except the one that matters: sound quality. If he can do that, this would be more powerful. Outside of the audio limitations, Hollows And Rounds is a good album for those who love poppy rock in every sense, where all guilty pleasures are sweet, innocent and carefree.
(You can stream the album in full by going to WhitejacketMusic.com.)