JEFF MCCALL - THE ALBUMS 2017 - 2020




"NIGHT LIFE"

2017



NIGHT LIFE -  This opening track reminds me of Heaven 17 with a hint of Krafwerk's electronic vocal backing on the chorus.  Bright and breezy with a great vocal, a pumping electronic beat and catchy chorus.  Sets you up nicely for the nostalgic glimpse into your 80s past that is to come.
 
 

HAVEN'T I TRIED
- Starts with a person walking and whistling before the footsteps change into a throbbing electrobeat, synths and handclap sounds.  The verses are clearly Erasure-like but the chorus somehow changes into Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys! Great song, the chorus is sing-a-long catchy and the vocals and composition are perfect Electro Pop.

WHEN YOU FALL - A powerful and emotive Electro Rock ballad with an eerie atmospheric style.  As a big fan of Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet it reminds me a little of their very early albums.  The chorus is akin to David Sylvian of Japan, with that low, almost monotone dark vocal which adds to the track's ambience.  Great track.

NEW HORIZONS - The vocals on this track remind me of Midge Ure (of Ultravox fame) intertwined with a musical style of The Thompson Twins.  Really nice emotional vocals in what sounds like a positive song of hope.  Proves that Jeff isn't just a one trick pony, he can throw out a moving ballad as well as catchy Pop.

SEE THE TEARS - With a pumping Electro Disco beat and full of Electronic effects this is a mash of New Order and Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark.  The quickfire non stop vocals keep the track ticking over, Has elements that make it sound like a superb remix which could have been a hit in the clubs at the time.

AM I DREAMING - This track is the one most sounding like Human League.  My favourite on the album by far.  Jeff gives us his best Philip Oakey vocal and its so good it takes me back to 1981 when I first bought the "Dare" album.  The biggest compliment I can give, is that this could be ON that album!

CAN YOU FEEL - A New Romantic sounding track which is atmospheric in style.  Trying to pin down a sound that it reminds me of and I had to pick three! So it is one part Gary Numan, one part A-Ha and one part Visage.  Jeff has great 80s knowledge and knows how to create special songs that just instil memories of your favourite 80s artists.

LOVE LOST - Perfect Synth Pop at its best, emotive with a lovely chorus.  Could be Vince Clarke and Andy Bell at their peak Erasure moments.  As good as one of my favourite songs by the band, "Ship Of Fools".  Top song!

LIFE DRAMA - Just when you think you have pinned the artist Jeff is thinking of, he slaps you in the face with another one in an instant! Alphaville, Blancmange, Erasure, Heaven 17 and Yello all came in my head on listening to this.  A great uptempo Electronic Pop song.

HIDEAWAY - This final song on the album didn't grab me instantly as the previous nine tracks.  Maybe its because it is an album rich in excellence and full of "hit" songs in my opinion that this one maybe falls short.  It is still a good song, imagine the scenario, Glenn Gregory of Heaven 17 meets Thomas Dolby who then both agree to create a song with Kraftwerk.


 "THOUGHTS & CROSSES"

2019


WE LEARN - As with most of Jeff McCall's retro 80s Synth Pop it is a great mix of a variety of styles and artists of that era.  This opening track is no exception.  There is a little Kraftwerk intro until the Dave Gahan like lyrics come in.  Indeed is sounds a lot like Gahan's band Depeche Mode with a hint of very early Spandau Ballet before they became "soul" boys.  

 

METAL MAN - If you are a fan of Thompson Twins and Erasure you will love this track.  It is a quirky mix of both bands with a pulating Electro beat with a melodious up and down backing with McCall lifting the song with his vocals to more uptempo style.

ON MY MIND - This second album continues with a slow, emotive ballad.  This is more Pop than the previous two, more New Wave or New Romantic with the sound reminiscent of The Human League.  A really nice song with a great chorus.

I WONDER - This track reminds me of A-ha, its soft Synth Pop backing and McCall's lilting vocals make this a great mid tempo ballad. 

HOLD ON TO LOVE - A more Disco Pop track, actually reminds me more of the early 90s than the 80s, but still an engaging track with its throbbing beat and its easy going chorus.  A half ballad in uptempo mode.

STATE OF MIND - Kraftwerk meets The Human League, another perfect slice of 80s Synth Pop.  The repetitive segements of effects in parts of the song aren't really needed as could be a great track on its own.  For me they are distracting but McCall is all about experimenting so kudos for that.  Probably my filler on the album just because of the repeat effects.

MAZE - Another Thompson Twins inspired track, in fact the biggest complement I can give is that it could be a track from them.  Love this, its got that danceable Synth beat and the vocals merge in brilliantly.  

BOYS DON'T CRY - A more melancholic song, a simple Synth Pop ballad that carries enough emotion to engage the listener. It is easy going, laid back and both sad and uplifting.  McCall's vocals convey the lyrics well.

AFTER THE PEACE - A mid tempo half ballad, half Pop track with a little Kraftwerk style backing McCall's vocals.  Sounding a little like Andy Bell (of Erasure) at times then Tom Bailey (Thompson Twins).  A really great song, almost has a Rock N' Roll hint if you listen carefully.  Love this.

JUST AN ILLUSION - This final track is teasing towards Synth Rock, a more heavier sound than the previous tracks.  A little early Roxette combined with Heaven 17 is the best I can explain this song.  I love it and yet again Jeff McCall has come up with a retro 80s record that is memorable following on from his debut, "Night Life" which I also reviewed.  Good stuff!.



 "SOMEBODY"

2020


SOMEBODY - Jeff's third album starts off with an intro straight out of Kraftwerk's copybook before a more moody Industrial sound kicks in.  The chorus changes to a more melodious Pop sound akin to of Erasure before returning to the Depeche Mode style Synth Rock.  Jeff has this 80s retro sound licked and this is another catchy gem.

I SEE YOU - A little more uptempo this one, straight out Synth Pop reminiscing the sound of The Human League.  This could easily have fit on the classic album, "Dare" from 1981.  It also reminds me a little of A Flock Of Seagulls in its minimal, simple catchy beat and lyrics.  Nice.

NO TIME TO DIE - A more Europop Synth style on this track.  If anyone recalls Berlin's 2nd album, "Pleasure Victim" (way before the 4th album that gave us "Take Your Breath Away") this is similar to that great infectious almost disco beat with a memorable chorus.  

TWILIGHT ZONE - Possiby my favourite from this album, very Soft Cell-like from the early 80s..  Upbeat track with a slight link to late 80s in the middle of the song as it changes to a little instrumental part that takes me back to Madonna's early years.  Majorly catchy tune!

RICK RACK - A likeable, minimal Synth ballad, doesn't get your attention with the lyrical content as much as the rest of this album.  Probably my least favourite track here but its still a nice, relaxing composition.  Its still has some emotional value like the original by The Humblebums from 1969, featuring Gerry Rafferty and Billy Connolly along with Tam Harvey

FALLEN ANGEL - An almost Gothic Synth Pop sound here, although it reminds me of Heaven 17.  Very cleverly done, I always like when there is a slight uptempo beat and yet the vocal arrangement is much slower.  It is eerie and moody but a great song.

IMAGINARY WORLD - Another genre melding track giving nods to Synth Pop, Europop, Drum and Bass and Indie Pop.  A really great song and works well.

PART OF THE CON - Brilliant track, interspersing Power Pop, Synth Pop and Rock.  It is moody, melancholic, yet giving off a positive, atmospheric and emotive vibe.  My second favourite track here.

 *epilepsy warning - fast moving images.

 

YOUR EYES - Depeche Mode/Kraftwerk hybrid with a sparkling vocal from Jeff lifting it from downbeat to upbeat in a second.  Classic Synth Pop.

GOODBYE EUROPA - Awesome tune, uplifting with a steady beat.  This kind of reminds me of early Duran Duran.  A classy piece of Synth Pop/Rock.  Great vocals and atmospheric backing give this tons of emotional value.  Pure class.  Another fabulous tune from Mr McCall.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

SAMANTHA FOX - "TOUCH ME" 1986

HUE AND CRY - "SEDUCED AND ABANDONED" 1987

FLEETWOOD MAC - "RUMOURS" 1977