Dictaphone Blues: Beneath the Crystal Palace (EMI)

Dictaphone Blues: Cliche
Dictaphone Blues: Beneath the Crystal Palace (EMI)

Like Marty McFly at the high school dance in Back to the Future, Ed Castelow of Dictaphone Blues has beamed himself back to crucial touchstones in pop-rock (classic Fifties chords, Beatles era choruses, Seventies power pop, American stadium rock from the Eighties) and distilled them into this shamelessly enjoyable collection which is smart enough to play spot-the-reference (Cheap Trick, Don't Fear the Reaper etc) but also stands proudly in its own right.

From an alphabet of influences (Badfinger, Beatles, Big Star and Boston for starters), Dictaphone Blues deliver songs which are as enjoyable as the Glitter Band (the echoed stomp of What Happened to Or Love?), frighteningly intense (the Oasis-cum-Indo-rock psychedelics of Spicy Fruit Loaf), as catchy as bubblegum (Friends Need Friends) and allow for Springsteen-scale lighter-waving (the seven minute Shake a Leg).

My Girl Anymore and What You Wanted You Got could have been hits in any decade since Elvis, and Dwight Twilley called to say he wants his Buddy Holly/echoplex style back (Burning Ball from Outer Space)

With widescreen production Phil Spector might admire, hooks big enough to land swordfish, half-familiar melodies, and cannoning drums behind stacked-up jangle guitars and sweeping synth-strings, this is a sheer delight and only the hardest heart won't be amused, seduced and delighted.

Doesn't sound remotely ironic, just like a splendid time was had by all . . . and it's infectious.

Like great pop-rock should be.

Want to read more about addictive and enjoyable power pop. Start here.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section

Willis Earl Beal: Acousmatic Sorcery (XL)

Willis Earl Beal: Acousmatic Sorcery (XL)

Beal's story is as interesting as this often engrossing debut album. In 2007 at age 23 after being discharged from the US army, he went and lived in the New Mexico desert while suffering from... > Read more

Paul Weller: Sonik Kicks (Island)

Paul Weller: Sonik Kicks (Island)

Aside from the excellent set list, when Paul Weller played the Powerstation in late 2010 what was so impressive and exciting was his impassioned delivery. You were left with the clear impression he... > Read more

New Elsewhere

20,000 DAYS  ON EARTH, a film by IAIN FORSYTH and JANE POLLARD (Madman DVD)

20,000 DAYS ON EARTH, a film by IAIN FORSYTH and JANE POLLARD (Madman DVD)

During a recent Q&A session after a screening of this film about him, Nick Cave mentioned in passing that a sequence involving Bad Seed/Dirty Three/Grinderman band member Warren Ellis wasn't... > Read more

WOMAD ARTIST 2015: Lake Street Dive

WOMAD ARTIST 2015: Lake Street Dive

Bridget Kearney, the acoustic bassist and songwriter in Boston's Lake Street Dive, says they have taken the tortoise approach to a career. “It's been a slow crawl,” she says,... > Read more