I guess I lived in a 1960s bubble. Growing up with my parents’ record collection it seemed that if the music was catchy and the performance was strong then it would be hit. But I think it was the stalling of Marshall Crenshaw’s career after Field Day that woke me up to fact that not all great music gets to be widely popular. There is an inescapable randomness to it all. You don’t get two more clear examples of the fickleness of the fame god than Soul Engines and The Someloves. Today’s tracks are red-hot bona-fide should-be hits.
The Soul Engines hail from the Jersey shore and apparently put out a few albums, though only 2002’s Closer Still is widely available. If their other records are even half as good as that one, the world is missing out on some pretty incredible music. The whole album is a pretty solid genre-crossing effort, a perfect melding of old rock and roll, Everly Brothers’ style country harmonies, and upfront melody. But two songs stand out as extraordinary efforts: “It’s Just Another Day” and “Tomorrow’s Girl.” I can’t stop hitting replay on these two tunes. “It’s Just Another Day” bursts open with a rapid fire smatter of jangly lead guitar that eases into the song with a nice organ backdrop. The guitars, organ and vocals play off each other with a sound reminiscent of a lot of western-style 1980s poprock like True West, Rank and File, and Canada’s Blue Rodeo. “Tomorrow’s Girl” kicks off with some great drumming that never lets the energy dissipate. It’s a tune with great swing and harmony vocals: the whole arrangement of the song is perfect, there just isn’t a note out of place. These songs would be in heavy rotation on Poprock Record radio! It’s Just Another DayTomorrow’s Girl
The Someloves are yet another example of the seemingly endless poprock talent pool that is Australia. Formed in Perth in the mid-1980s, the band released a handful of singles and just one album, 1990’s Something or Other. In this case, the lack of success is a bit easier to understand as one half of the band’s creative duo simply refused to tour in support of their recordings, killing their record deal. Still, there have been non-touring success stories in rock and roll and given how drop dead amazing their lone album is, the lack of accolades and gold records remains surprising. I mean, check out the killer roll out of “Know You Now.” It’s all ringing guitars and The Three O’Clock-style breathy vocals that builds to an catchy chorus and then back to more ringing chords. It’s an intense three minutes and 49 seconds of poprock. “Sunshine’s Glove” works a similar formula but ups the melody enrichment, allowing the ringing guitars to echo the hooks. Pretty addictive stuff as a kind of double A-side single. The good news here is that unlike the Soul Engines, a fabulous double CD greatest hits retrospective is available for The Someloves: 2006’s Don’t Talk About Us.Know You NowSunshine’s Glove
Hey, it’s never too late to make these guys the stars they deserved to be. Check out the recordings they have available on iTunes and with other sellers. Contacting bands that don’t exist anymore is a bit more problematic but not impossible. The songwriters from the Soul Engines have a number of new projects on the go and can be contacted on their Jenny Pilot’s and The Susan Rumors sites. Don Mariani from The Someloves has solo recordings and work with The Stems and DM3 available and can be reached at his website and on Facebook.