Nine Times Blue – Falling Slowly (Renegade / City Hall) review
The Power Pop genre has always baffled me. How can music that is so “radio friendly” be ignored by radio? Big Star, Tommy Keene, and Matthew Sweet should have scored as many hits as Elton John by now. Well, maybe in an alternate universe, right? The Atlanta-based band Nine Times Blue adds a worthy addition to this underrappreciated genre with the release of Falling Slowly.
The album is full of big drums, jangly guitars, and killer hooks that will have you singing along immediately. The title track,“Falling Slowly,” jumps out of the speakers, sounding like a lost track off of New Miserable Experience from the Gin Blossoms. When the music breaks down at 3:06 for a brief acapella moment – it will give you chills. “Crazy to Think” features pounding drums and some great background vocals on the chorus. “Grace” sounds like Badfinger meets “Sixth Avenue Heartache” from the Wallflowers. It’s a great midtempo ballad that features another underrated musician, John Faye of the Philly band Ike, on backing vocals.
And, there are some surprises here beyond your typical power pop record – “Silent Words” is fueled by strumming acoustic guitars, not electric, while “Million Miles” has a darker feel that recalls early R.E.M. The real treat is “Serena,” with its multi-layered harmonies and insistent beat, it sounds like juiced-up Beatles meets Beach Boys with some Nashville twang thrown in for good measure. The amps are upped for “So Much Time,” which features a fine wah wah infused guitar solo. The disc closes with the bouncy yet ironic “New Beginnings” which is very satisfying.
In this age of single downloads, it’s great to hear an entire album of great songs, and actual guitar solos too! Anyone who’s a fan of melodic rock will find plenty to like about Nine Times Blue. –Tony Peters