Stephen Lawrenson – Obscuriousity (2013)

Although the name of Stephen Lawrenson’s new album is certainly clever, let’s hope it doesn’t become an obscurity or curiosity — because songs this good deserve to be heard by everyone who appreciates first-class pop cuisine.

Putting the power into pop, “Your Karma” rocks insistently to a burly beat, and the fuzzy fragrance of “Thank You” follows a similar pattern, with its ripping riffage and high energy deliverance.

The title track of the disc swings and swaggers with cool breaks and melodies, and the piano based “Pale Yellow” blinks and shines with naked emotions, then mushrooms into a towering chorus of wailing six-string samplings and heavenly sighs.

Supervised by ringing guitars and gentle harmonies, “Words To Say” kicks in as a surefire folk pop nugget, and the detailed and dainty “Small White House” offers a marvelous mix of jaunty keyboard fills and jolly ragtime rhythms.

Confident and cozy vocals, amplified by pitch perfect phrasing, guide the tunes on Obscuriousity (Kool Kat Musik) to greatness. As well, the arrangements are meticulously constructed, and the hooks are imaginative and unique.

Strands of Elton John, Cheap Trick, Big Star and the Cavedogs are frequently sensed throughout the proceedings, but Stephen definitely injects his own distinctive personality and perspectives into his fine material.

Artistically rewarding and catchy enough to infiltrate the mainstream masses, Obscuriousity is the kind of album all serious pop rock musicians aspire to make.

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Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 on the national charts with "Stand By Me" - which is ironically one of her favorite songs, especially the version by John Lennon. She has also contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as associate editor of Rock Beat International. Paterson's own publications have included Inside Out, and Twist And Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.