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CD REVIEW: Doug McCurry - Romance like it Was

By: Cyrus Rhodes


"Brilliantly Zany"




Artist: Doug McCurry
Album: Romance like it Was
Label: Independent Artist

Genre: Alternative Rock, Ambient Rock

Sounds Like: as The Flaming Lips, Beck, Cake
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 8/10
Best Songs: Grit and Grinding, Blast Off, Christina
Weakness: Winded Songs.



Acoustic Singer/Songwriter Doug McCurry hailing from North Carolina releases his latest CD entitled Romance like it Was in 2012. You may remember McCurry from the days in Big Brick Building. On his own McCurry has proven a force to be reckoned with releasing Seven Songs About Leaving in 2012 READ REVIEW. This latest effort features McCurry (Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Percussion, and loop sampling), Lisa Spring (Violin), William Earl (Drums and Percussion, Chris Johnson (Trumpet and Keyboards, Brent Bagwell (Saxophone) and Greg Gilbert (Bass).

The CD kicks things off with “Blast Off” a solid intro piece that serves up steady rock rhythm, against infectious vocal vibe against catchy guitar groove from McCurry. Track 2 “Wanda” keeps things moving a bit with methodical musical build against slamming drum beat against hooky melody, and brilliant melodic layering. This coupled with mesmerizing lyrical content makes for a very interesting musical statement. Track 3 “Cleveland Park” serves up infectious electro-rock groove that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition with hypnotic saxophone and heartfelt falsetto from McCurry. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical soundscapes reminiscent of such classic acts such as The Flaming Lips, Beck, and even Cake to R.E.M. Right from the start you will notice rich musical textures overflowing everywhere, full of passion, variety and strong melodic structure. The songs themselves are addictive, and packed full of zany and entertaining lyrical content and subject matter that simply cannot be faked. The music itself is an impressive blend of rock, alternative rock with just a dash Industrial and Ambient Rock. Along the way besides the typical 4 piece standard you will notice well placed percussive accents and electronic beats, impressive sampling touches, piano, keyboards, solo guitar, harmonica, well placed harmonies and horns built upon a solid low end rhythm section foundation. McCurry makes no attempt at sugar coating the truth via his music, instead he lets it all hang out with reckless abandon and trippy lamentation. His voice works well within the confines of this upbeat yet trippy catalogue. I might add he takes some impressive vocal risks throughout the CD as well. No doubt McCurry can hold his own vocally, as I didn’t fail to notice a few well-placed harmonies and impressive falsettos that lets it all hang out. Enter McCurry’s musicianship and production virtuoso - equally as impressive. What I like most about the music is its sheer unpredictability and amazing amount of originality. Song for song you can never really predict what’s waiting for you around the next corner. Also present a barrage of sonic touches, percussive elements, and eccentric attitude. From heartfelt “Along the River” to zany “Grit and Grinding” to rocking “Quarters” melodic King of Hollywood” to striking “Prophet and Thief” to infectious “Christina”  this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 12 “Future Dreams” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.  

It’s hard to find any noticeable weaknesses with McCurry’s latest release. All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line.  

Romance Like it Was by Doug McCurry is an impressive musical production from start to finish. It’s strong suit – the amazing creative genius of Doug McCurry. He possesses enough musical talent and songwriting prowess to be extremely dangerous. The music is clean, goes down smooth, and is full of amazing musical soundscapes that come at you from every direction. The messages are passionate, honest, and amazingly witty - all from a brilliantly zany perspective. The true meaning of some of these songs is buried deep within the lyrical content and is not so easily pinned down the first listen. I really admire artists out there who are themselves and just let the chips fall where they may. Praise goes out to the artist that can show us something real and genuine beneath their veil of vanity. Doug McCurry is one of those artists.  

Cyrus Rhodes

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