I'm never surprised when artists from other countries explore and develop the genre of my native America. The possible exception may be the so-called 'Westcoast' music made popular by guitarist and producer Jay Graydon (too name one influence) and bands such as Toto, Christopher Cross, Ambrosia and, possibly indirectly, Chicago. The style is both distinct and nebulous so that you only know it when you hear it. So how do two Swedes, Daniel Andersson and Stefan Olofsson, find and claim America's Westcoast sound? Simply, because music is a universal export, and the fact that both traveled to LA to learn their chosen genre. The long report and accomplishment is their self-titled debut, State Cows.
Without question, State Cows is the pure Westcoast sound. So what is that? As one Net denizen said, 'To me, westcoast music is just a feeling. When I listen to it, I always picture myself driving near the coastline with the breeze in my hair.' Well, there it is, a 'feeling' and 'breezy,' and here it is on this disc. A light musical composition, but not soft rock, with lush vocal arrangements, breezy yet expert guitar, and plenty of horns (love those horns) over a near jazz fusion arrangement. This formula is everywhere and all over this debut, and quite distinct on I've Changed, New York Town, Mystery Jane, and Riding This Highway. Andersson and Olofsson have their craft down well, making the work effortless and pleasing. For a real Westcoast tribute, the legendary Graydon plays solo on New York Town.
Though not my favorite genre, unless spiced with progressive material ala Ambrosia, Daniel Andersson and Stefan Olofsson's State Cows is the real Westcoast deal. Honestly, they are kindred spirits of the style, in time and place born 35 years too late. Fans of the airy and mysterious Westcoast sound should look no farther than the contemporary State Cows. Highly recommended if you're a fan of the Westcoast sound.
Daniel Andersson and Stefan Olofsson's State Cows is the real Westcoast deal. Honestly, they are kindred spirits of the style, in time and place born 35 years too late. Fans of the airy and mysterious Westcoast sound should look no farther.
Resolve marks the return of Allentown's Mindmaze, after a three year hiatus from the studio. Their third album offers a new and stable line up with new drummer Mark Bennett assisting bassist Rich ... [ Read More ]