CD REVIEW: Doug McCurry & The Verticals - Doug McCurry & The Verticals
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist; Doug McCurry & The Verticals
Doug McCurry & The Verticals
Genre: Alternative Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Psychedelic Punk
Sounds Like: They Might Be Giants, John Lennon, Talking Head, Radiohead, Beck, Franz Ferdinand, Talking Heads, Death Cab for Cutie. Todd Rungren, Weezer, Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, The Kooks, David Bowie.
Weakness: More solo segments, short sided CD, a few short sided songs, Post Production Approach
(CHARLOTTE, NC) Doug McCurry has been involved in original music since the 1980's, as both a musician and producer. He was a member of the band Big Brick Building, who released 2 CDs and drew the attention of industry professionals, critics, and alternative music fans. After several years of absence, Seven Songs About Leaving marked the return of Doug McCurry to writing and recording music. This latest 10 Track CD is entitled “Doug McCurry & The Verticals” released in 2015. Featured players include “ Doug McCurry (Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards), William Earl (Drums, Percussion), Greg Gilbert (Bass), Marcus Harmon (Saxophone), Phil Howe (Trumpet). Lisa Spring (Violin), Toni Naples (Accordion). Background vocals provided by Donna Duncan and Molly Carroll.
First up is Track 2 “Knocked me Down” serves up an enticing rocked out guitar ridden groove, meshed against hypnotic horns, impressive lyrical content, strong melody and impassioned vocals and soulful harmonies from McCurry and company. This intro track sets the tone rather well for a fun and highly charged-psychedelic rock CD like this. Track 3 "Nasty” presents a brilliant play on words which quickly takes flight with rocking lullaby that gradually builds into a passionate full tilt fun filled ballad complete with hypnotic vocal presence and a grand slam chorus that will have you rolling in the isles. Track 4 “Five Years Ago” serves up yet another hooky groove with its good time beat, and impassioned vocal feel, that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. As these songs slowly unfolded I could hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic They Might Be Giants, Radiohead, Beck, Franz Ferdinand, Talking Heads, and Death Cab for Cutie. I can also hear Todd Rungren, Weezer, Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, The Kooks to David Bowie. I would classify this music as quirky Alternative Rock, with a slight aftertaste of Indie Rock/Pop. There is also an undeniable Quirky-Psychedelic Pop and eccentric Punk Influence in there as well. The songs themselves are addictive, eccentric, fascinating, and infectious - all reflections of this artist. McCurry is clearly having a lot of fun with this. One can't notice intellectual, carefree but real subject matter delivered between the spoken words, with a heavy dose of satire on the side. The musicianship and production touches from all members are rock solid across the board. McCurry showcases rock solid playing and songwriting skills. Besides the 4 piece standard you will also notice things like thick low end beats and rhythms, well placed Horns, Trumpet, Saxophone, harmonies, keyboard/synth, Accordion, Sporadic Percussion and lush harmonies layered everywhere. McCurry is indeed an accomplished composer, musician, and singer/songwriter within his own right and he is no doubt the musical mastermind behind all this. Equally as impressive is the how he makes the (singer to listener) vocal connection with the songs - in a funny, carefree way. McCurry really lets it all hang out vocally. Sometimes he reminds me of Tom Petty, John Lennon and even Les Claypool. McCurry really grooves and has a good, infectious sound. McCurry has an appealing timber and crisp, sharp baritone. All engineering aspects check out well. From impassioned “Not This Time” to smooth flowing “Bostic Sunshine” to rocking “Fireball” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 10 “Stick Around” the perfect finale statement for a CD like this.
I wish there were a few more solo segments throughout the CD. CD is a tad bit short with just 10 tracks. Perhaps 2-3 more songs are needed to make it a fully loaded CD release. All songs under 2 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. Mix though adequate sounds a bit of kilter to me especially on high end speakers. It doesn’t indicate who mixed the CD within the liner notes but it does say McCurry produced it. If McCurry did mix it he’s probably too close to the project to give it the proper Engineering checks and balances. Mix is the make and break for any production and to reach it's maximum potential it's never a good idea to have the artists or band involved with any aspect of Post Production. .
In close “Doug McCurry & The Verticals” is just a blast to listen to. In the end he is a highly original and fun-filled rock artist. The music is fresh and highly entertaining. It’s strong suit – its amazing fun-live-vibe McCurry brings to the table. All songs are extremely melodic, passionate, and captivating. All these songs have a ring of truth to them and are boldly honest in a comical way. Each song possesses a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. All songs have a tragic ring of truth to them. Doug McCurry is a surging artist armed with a brilliant perspective an amazing UK flair that will inspire many.