Jamie Hoover – Two Ever (2014)

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Singer, songwriter and guitarist Jamie Hoover initially staged a splash back in the early 1980s with the North Carolina-based Spongetones, who collected fans worldwide and are still going strong today. Jamie has further cut equally exciting discs with Spongetones guitarist Steve Stoeckel under the moniker of Jamie and Steve, released solo efforts, and gained the reputation as a tip-top producer.

In the beginning, the Spongetones were branded British Invasion styled power-pop purveyors but, like the best artists, they increased their repertoire while at the same time retaining their inspirations, and are now aptly regarded as one of the most clever and creative bands of any genre. Jamie’s projects outside the Spongetones also never cease to bleed with interesting and inventive indentations, and here on his latest album, Two Ever (Loaded Goat Records), a deft command of boundary-blending takes charge.

Threaded with resounding piano fills and fine melodies, “You Took Away The Birds,” the harmonious pop of “Press Save,” the brash and bluesy “The Jim Joanne Massacre,” the catchy “Honest Work,” and the smooth jazzy twinges of “Take Care Of You” step in as only a quick run down of the great tracks featured on the album. Structured and solid, these songs highlight Jamie’s gift for pouring passion and conviction into both the lyrics and music. His voice, which beams with phrasings and inflections of a Beatles meets the Byrds nature, draws the listener directly into the loop.

A series of cool covers additionally line Two Ever, including a heart-stopping a cappella presentation of the Fab Four’s “Misery,” Bob Lind’s country-seasoned “Oh Babe Take Me Home,” the hard-edged guitar thrust of Don Dixon’s “Righteous Side Of Love,” and the sad beauty of the Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renee” that is performed with such genuine emotion that it seriously stands on par with the original version.

As usual, Jamie Hoover has cooked up a superb set of songs, where the playing and singing is concise, the arrangements are artful, and the finish is crisp and sparkly. Though a myriad of musical fashions may pepper Two Ever, a potent pop feel is engraved within the grooves, making the songs easy to consume and call for repeat airings.

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

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