Well, new as of last September, anyway. I only have two ears.
Rob Skane, an upstate New York pop songwriter, has assembled a really nice acoustic based collection of three-minute pop songs. Weaving your way through you will probably draw the conclusion that Rob is a fan of Paul Westerberg (“Army of Individuality”), Elvis Costello (“You Preach Peace” – A/B that puppy with “Radio Radio”), Graham Parker (“Ballad of a Small Man”), Paul Collins (“I Waited”) and Nick Lowe (“In My Room”). The whole album has that loose, casual feel of Marshall Crenshaw. Hell, that’s all from the good end of my record collection.
Ironically released on LoFi Records, Skane’s songs are primarily fueled by chunky acoustic guitar, simple but infectious melodies and choruses. His lead vocals, while not stellar, are well-suited to the songs; if you can appreciate Jesse Malin, Jonathan Richman, Eytan Mirsky, Michael Shelley or Ben Vaughn this is right up your alley. There are no explosive moments; guitar solos are brief, playing is tight without being flashy.
Video: “I Waited”
While many of the songs are three chord wonders and can be a bit repetitive (especially the first two), most of them really grew on me. (With one exception – I have no idea what’s going on with the hidden track, but if the purpose is to remind you to get up and take the CD out of the player, mission accomplished.) It would be almost impossible to hear “Girl Next Door” or “I Waited” and not drum on the dashboard, and “You Preach Peace” deserves much wider airplay.
Give Phantom Power Trip a listen; I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Visit the Rob Skane website.