Monday, November 4, 2013

CD Reviews: Clara May/Ryan Powers And The Secret Weapons

Note: These reviews originally appeared in the Around Hear section of the Illinois Entertainer.

The six-man group Clara May sounds best on American Desi when lead singer Tom Silva’s husky and compelling vocals are set to energetic arrangements. The hard-hitting “Badlands” is a knockout, while “Kanyakumari” and “KL Days” are lighter but still engaging. Silva channels David Bowie on the title track and just about everything else here, but Clara May could be even better if they took things less seriously, and rocked out more. Still, this is a band with a lot of character. 

If Ryan Powers And The Secret Weapons don’t launch a few hit singles from The Goodnight Goodbye Hour, there’s something wrong with modern radio. A few of these 10 pop/rock tracks are a bit over-commercial, but “Mr. Sunshine,” which blends a light pop arrangement with 1960s prom music, is a gem. Three band members join Powers on Hollies-style harmonies throughout this release, and the melodies—particularly on “Be My Baby”—are irresistible.

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