Thursday, August 5, 2010

CD Review: Maple Mars - Galaxyland

The space age art on the cover of Galaxyland, the latest release from recent International Pop Overthrow participants Maple Mars, gives an indication of the CD’s imaginative mix of power pop and psychedelic rock. Most of the tracks were composed and produced by vocalist Rick Hromadka, who plays several instruments, in addition to lead guitar. He has a penchant for big and ambitious arrangements that occasionally lean toward progressive rock, particularly on “Big Imagination” and “New Day.” But overall, Galaxyland is filled with fetching melodies and tight harmony vocals.

“Somewhere Back There” is straight up pop, ala mid-1960s Beatles or Hollies, and Hromadka’s singing captures the era perfectly. His vocals are one of the CD’s consistent pleasures, whether it’s on “Head Turner,” an intricate, acoustic tribute to beauty and nature, or on the energetic opening track, “The Excursion.” After an acoustic intro, “Starting Over” offers a catchy celebration of the saving power of love, while the heartfelt soul-searching of “When Bridges Fall” benefits from a lilting string arrangement.


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