Doug McCurry has been around since the 1980’s, with two CD’s with the band Brick Building, and some other stuff behind him, including an album called – Seven Songs About Leaving. The new album is entitled – Doug McCurry & The Verticals II, the follow up to Doug McCurry & the Verticals, which featured the tracks “Knocked Me Down,” “Nasty,” and “Five Years Ago.” With these ten fresh tracks, it helps bring McCurry back into the place where his music belongs with a solid Pop album of fantastic songs that contain all of which is great about classic rock n’ roll music, done by a musician dedicated to the craft of songwriting.
Not having heard the previous album, there’s no connecting the songs from this point of view, but the tracks on Doug McCurry & The Verticals II, all check out as smash hit songs. So, if you’ve heard the previous album you’ll be glad to know this album rocks and swings with a passion. “Running Away” is the opening track, and it’s a Pop perfect song you’d swear you’ve heard somewhere before, which is the mark of any great artist, especially when you can’t put your finger on it. This song has that appeal to it, and it’s contagious. It leads you down the path of these cool songs that all have some compelling hooks.
“Pretty Eyes On Fire” is one of the album’s hot picks for sure. It’s a step beyond the first track, which shows the progressive quality of them playing order. Doug McCurry lets it all hang out here with a fun-loving song indeed. It’s the perfect mid-tempo rocker to keep the album firmly in line as it goes onto bigger and better things. “Precious Rose” starts out with the line “in your pretty eyes” and you feel that McCurry likes to thread his songs, which this being the follow up to an album of the same title, completely fits the script. This is a classic song which is a smart inclusion on the album.
The songs really start to burn when you get to “Sugar & Lies” with its darker vibe that brings much good contrast to the proceedings. It cruises along nicely with a chugging effect and some cool vocal effects to round it out. This track is as good as good as the album gets, and definitely-one my favorite’s by far. “Beautiful Pain” is once again another inspiring track, with its slow hypnotic groove that won’t quit. By this time, you’re won over by the sheer songwriting prowess of McCurry alone, and the rest is absolute gravy from where he comes, having cut an album to be proud of.
“Bossa Nova 4-2” is a change of mood on the album with a sweet tune that’s impossible to get out of your head once you hear it. This is where you know you’re hearing a world class artist who can swing from any tree in the music jungle when he wants to. “That Josephine” shows the rougher, more brash side of McCurry, and it’s a breath of fresh air at this point on the record, just as the previous track is. But once again McCurry uses a maverick ability to contrast these songs in the track arrangement to play so well together. And the rest is as good as described above on this brilliant collection of songs.
by Randy Jones
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