Let There Be Music

by: Orleans

The first Asylum release by Orleans is an earnestly engaging, though diffuse collection of pop tunes in many flavors. Both the title track and "You've Given Me Something" are pure power-pop numbers; the former is an agreeably forceful and hook-filled electric guitar-based selection featuring an especially ardent vocal, while the latter song is a bit breezier in feel, propelled along by a galloping drumbeat. "Fresh Wind" tosses mild funk and psychedelic touches into the pure pop formula. "Business as Usual" explores disco-oriented territory, "Cold Spell" sports a funky Stevie Wonder-style guitar hook, and "Give One Heart" exhibits strong reggae influences. "Time Passes On" is a loping, expressive number with an odd Joni Mitchell-like bridge section that features far-flung harmonic excursions, while "Ending of a Song" is a warmly emotive singer/songwriter-influenced selection. The big chart hit "Dance with Me" is a magically understated country-pop song that proves very memorable over repeated hearings. Vocal harmonies on this disc are generally full and vibrant; arrangements and production are more complex and intriguing than may be apparent on first listen. Definite demerits go for the often squarishly didactic and/or cliched verses (examples can be found on "Your Life My Friend," for instance); socially critical lyrics appear on some numbers, notably "Cold Spell" and "Business as Usual." Despite the blocky verses and lack of stylistic focus, this is an often engaging platter worth a listen. ~ David Cleary

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