Bikini Atoll - Ep (MP3 album)
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4 MP3 Songs in this album (11:19) !
Related styles: ROCK: Surf Rock, FOLK: Folk Pop
People who are interested in The Beach Boys Paul Simon should consider this download.
Everybody has to grow up sometime, and even Adam Bell is no exception. After five years heading Kingston-via-Owen Sound power pop band The Radical Dudez, Bell is striking out on his own as Group of Seven. Without sacrificing the gift for a catchy hook that led Chart Magazine to mint the Dudez as a "new wave Weezer, but with heart, wit and intelligence," Bell's typical summer-and-girls focus has broadened to include history, national identity, and the finer points of beginning to navigate the world as an adult. It's an impressive development from a songwriter once caught idealizing his childhood as "no work, all play, track pants every day." The past two years have seen his facility with recording and layering arrangements increase, assisted by his work co-writing with and recording other artists (A Day For Kites, Born To Busk).
"I can usually hear the thing as a whole in my head: the trick is breaking it down into pieces," says
Bell, who completes 20-30 songs a year and usually records every two years. "I think this is why I keep moving more towards orchestrations - now if only I could write music notation!"
Not having a background in music theory has not hampered Bell. Rather, he's blessed with an effortless melodic sensibility recalling Big Star's Alex Chilton - had Chilton been locked in a Ford Windstar with nothing but the '90s grunge records of Bell's adolescence. And he's always had an instinct for the eclectic, mining Brian Wilson's affinity for grandeur on one song and Neil Young's simplicity on the next.
Bell's new material not only concerns identity on the grand scale, but features characters whose identities are changed by historical and economic forces beyond their control: a WWII veteran experiences post-traumatic stress syndrome after resettling in Chicago ("The War"); the 1972 Canada-Russia hockey series becomes the breaking point of a troubled marriage ("O Kanada"); a worker laid off from the Massey-Ferguson plant in Brantford links his declining fortunes to those of the struggling 1986 Toronto Maple Leafs ("Golden Horseshoe"). Of course, Bell is still interested in summer and girls, as "Make Up/Make Out" and the heat-shimmer harmonies of "Tahiti Treat" make clear.
Bell's ever-increasing proficiency at compressing sun-kissed idealism, self-scrutiny and a plain-spoken social consciousness into 4-minute pop symphonies is testament to his growth as a songwriter and arranger. Growing up never sounded so good.
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