Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Producers

ISR Music Magazine 


"You and I"


The Producers - Made in Basing Street

A wonderful release, a mixture of yes, wings, the beach boys high harmonies, and the "dream-pop" of 10cc.

Very lush and uplifting, in true Trevor Horn production style. The musical arrangements and lyrics are diverse and thoughtful, as Mr. Horn wouldn't have it any other way.

This album is kind of obscure in today's era of "corporate indie-rock". There is no whistling, ukulele or handclaps to be found here.

So to all 'Yuppies' hooked on Hozier, The Killers, or Black Keys, you should pass on this review.

And if you are a fan of the White Stripes or Imagine Dragons then you probably won't appreciate the sublime hypnotic sounds of The Producers.

Many of the tasteful references and influences are classic rock motifs that only over-40 'DILF-Rockers', dad's i'd like to fuck would recognize.

Ash Soan the drummer is a London-based session player who has played with the likes of Sheryl Crow, Hamish Stuart of the AWB and numerous others.

Lol Creme was the dream-pop singer slash keyboard player in 10cc. ('I'm Not In Love').

Trevor Horn and Stephen Lipson are together again here for the first time since FGTH's Liverpool album. All their usual cleverness is here. At times things almost sound a bit too-slick with plenty of sheen and layered textures on everything.

The songs range from power-pop "Waiting for the Right Time", to acoustic ballads; "Man on the Moon", to The Buggles influenced; "Seven".

My personal favorites from the album are "Freeway" and "You and I".

The lead vocal duties are split between vocalist Chris Braide and Lol Creme (10cc), though Trevor Horn (Seal, The Buggles, The Art of Noise), takes the lead on a few tracks, and gives many of the background vocal tracks a nice polish with his high harmonies.

Stephen Lipson (a Horn protégé, studio musician, producer, guitarist, and synthesizer programmer) and drummer Ash Soan (Sheryl Crow, Squeeze) round out the band.

Since most of the performers are also producers, hence the name of the group, the quality of the arrangements is phenomenal, and the sound mix is a stunning aural experience.

Based on my adoration of music producers Trevor Horn and Stephen Lipson, I had high expectations that this would be an incomparable album.

I was not disappointed.

The most notable tracks are:

"Freeway", a tribute to California's bucolic coastal highways, and luxury automobile driving in general.

Horn wanted to capture the experience of speeding through the Santa Monica Mountains, cresting the hills off Sunset Drive in the wee hours of the morning until the Pacific Ocean in all it's splendor comes into your view.

The song is steeped in Horn's signature sound; lush harmonies embellished by elevated lofty guitar riffs over a bed of multi-layered optimistic synthesizer chord progressions.

Mr. Horn and his protégé Mr. Lipson are renown for a wonderfully lucid audio experience in this signature style. (Seal: 'Don't Cry', 'Kiss From A Rose', and FGTH: 'Lunar Bay', 'Relax')

"Man On The Moon" is a heartfelt lullaby with Elton John's ballad sensibilities as an influence. It carries you wistfully away with sentimental lyrics and a soulful guitar solo.

"Garden of Flowers" is Trevor's lament for his late wife, record executive Jill Sinclair. Composed on a day of inclement weather when he was unable to go out on his boat, this touching lyrical song gently carries you in an undercurrent wave of pretty guitar playing.

"You and I" is a YES circa 90210 prog-rock pulsing synth-fantasy groove. This is an audiophiles kaleidoscope delight.

The vocal layering on the bridge section is clearly an homage to Jon Anderson and the acoustic guitar work pays tribute to both Genesis' Steve Hackett, and Steve Howe the YES guitarist.

"Your Life" also has YES signatures, borrowing riffs from "Roundabout" it starts out minimalist, the way Seal's songs do, then a graceful and subtle build up effect climaxes to emotional perfection.

I pre-ordered and bought the limited edition CD version of this album after I read an article about who was going to be in this band.

Everyone in this group has such an esteemed and world renown pedigree as a master craftsman.

I'm happy to say my expectations have been more than met. They have been surpassed.

''Basing Street'' is an extremely well-produced album. The music is lush, highly atmospheric, sophisticated and really rocks out.

Go get ''Made In Basing Street'', after you view the video below. The video will show you The Producers know EXACTLY what they are doing, live or in a studio.

If you like the all the flourishes that Trevor Horn and Steve Lipson include in their productions for FGTH, Grace Jones, YES, Annie Lennox, Propaganda, Buggles, and Seal, then you'll enjoy the imagination in this release.

The pedigree of Horn, Lol Creme, Steven Lipson, and Ash Soan is not to be denied here. Chris Braide's lead vocals are the perfect cherry on top.

One closing note is Horn's "Garden of Flowers," written on a rainy day for his coma-stricken wife Jill Sinclair (a ZTT Records executive and Seal's former manager), this song leaves a deep emotional mark.

This is a wonderful album with memorable melodies and strong lyrics.

The sound is closer to classic progressive-rock than alternative or indie-rock.

The exciting instrumentals really jam, and these guys prove they can still rock out with the best.

Highly recommended for anyone into contemporary British-pop.

Absolutely wonderful.