Lisa Mychols’ latest release, Above, Beyond And In Between finds the veteran singer-rhythm guitarist gliding through a few decades’ worth of genres. Working with multi-instrumentalist-backup vocalist Tom Richards, she offers 12 tracks with irresistible melodies and easy-going, intricately layered vocals. It could inspire those who only know Mychols from her contributions to compilations like International Pop Overthrow or Hi-Fi Christmas Party to seek out her earlier solo efforts.
Aside from a few near misses, like the overly cute opener, “Hearts Beat In Stereo” or the generic ballad, “Ferris Wheel,” Above, Beyond And In Between is consistently engaging. Mychols excels at mining the 1960s girl group sound; “Make Believe” and “Summertime Dream” could easily have been Top 40 hits from that era. Her more rough-edged approach on the Richards compositon, “She Lied” evokes Liz Phair; while the shimmering 1980s rock of “Another Side Of Time” sounds like the music Mychols plays in NUSHU, her techno duo with Hillary Burton.
A tribal beat and rollicking guitars make “Foolin’ The World” a perfect party song, while “Stay Till Tomorrow” is an effective power ballad with a hint of Electric Light Orchestra. “Pass Me Some Hope” mixes synthesizers and guitars in a playful arrangement. Mychols and Richards wind things up with “Better Than Nothing,” an energetic power pop number that sounds like it could have been recorded by The Bangles.