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A review of...

Impressions by Music Go Music

Impressions
Date: 
August 19, 2014
Writer: 
Adam Millard
9.0

The gist

Gala Bell, Torg, and Kamer Maza return with a second album, rammed with pure pop "hits".

The music

"This new one is like experimental ABBA compared to the full on chart topping ABBA of the first!!"

This was the recommendation given to me by fellow Crackle writer Brett Kelly. I still haven't heard all of Music Go Music's 2009 debut, Expressions, but after listening to the follow up, I think my head will explode if (and when) I finally do. I'm finding it hard to believe that ANYTHING could sound more poptastic than this record. The Abba factor is there for everyone to hear, but the songs aren't ripped off, they are perfectly and affectionately constructed by the band and recorded in a way that sounds weirdly vital and fresh. Although there is a deep and obvious influence on every single song, there's also an element of pop genius on every single song, because every single song on Impressions is a catchy-hooky-disco classic. The numerous epic build-ups and glorious climaxes are sublime (very reminiscent of fellow LA dwellers Bodies Of Water in fact), especially when coupled with high-camp Broadway and a wispy lead vocal turn by Gala Bell (which, importantly, is played dead straight). The choruses are relentlessly life-affirming, just when you think every corner of the pop landscape has been mined for ear worms, they throw in another one for good measure, it seems so easy (but judging by the 5 years it took to release this follow up we can probably assume that this was not the case). Unfortunately for the world these classics will never be "hits" in the strictest sense, but those who seek them out will be duly rewarded. An album like this, with so much to offer can only really be regarded as a modern classic, albeit with a vintage sheen.

Listen to:

"Love Is All I Can Here" - an electro-glam introduction to Music Go Music's glossy, yet subtly dark, world. This one sounds like Erasure at their mid-80s pop best.

"Inferno" - the peak of Impressions in terms of sheer commercial dexterity. Funky basslines, sparkling synths, an infectious/harmonious chorus and a middle eight to end all middle eights. The most perfect pop tune I've heard in a very long time.

"Part of Me" - this track is all about Torg's galloping bass and Bell's lovelorn vocals. It's also got some synthesizer which sounds like it's just been invented, on the spot.

"Tell Me How It Feels" - wailing guitars and piano flourishes straight out of the 80s Bowie songbook.

"Shine Down Forever" - the break down and build up is classic Bodies of Water. Almost as if they had some input along the way.

Listen if...you like Abba, Erasure, hit makers who don't make hits (Har Mar Superstar, Imperial Teen etc)

Also:

This album came with the most entertaining press release I've ever read. It's hard to know where the fiction ends and the truth begins. Here's my favourite section:

"We also, sadly, spent a great deal of time working on a soundtrack for what turned out to be a non-existent Elliot Gould film. A man who identified himself as Mr. Gould’s son and representative contacted us through our then-record label, proposing that we score a film starring the actor. He told us that the senior Mr. Gould had written and directed it himself, and that it was in post-production. He sent us very grainy, low-quality footage of scenes from this film featuring a man we were led to believe was Elliot Gould, for which we were instructed to compose music. (Ostensibly, the extremely low resolution of the footage was a piracy deterrent.) We communicated with the younger Mr. Gould for several months via phone and email, sent him almost two hours of music, and he made several wire transfers (of amounts ranging from $75 to $400) into our checking account as an advance on points from the film. As our interaction with him continued, we became concerned by his increasingly erratic behavior, which culminated in a disquieting Snapchat session that would be our final interaction with him.

After months with no response to our messages, we were forced to conclude that the Gould project was a scam, and that were was never meant to be any film. It all seems very obvious in retrospect, but then I guess all scams do. We still don’t know what this man stood to gain by posing as Gould’s son."