(2018 - self release - USA)
[Limited Edition CD of 200, and Deluxe Wooden Box edition,
which includes a 2nd disc, in an even more Ltd Ed of 100 set available]
A gleeful and highly melodious beauty of an album by multi-instrumentalist, composer, artist, singer, overachieving Renaissance man, and do it all yourself musician, Gregory Curvey. One listen will convince you of his talent and generosity in writing and arranging warm sunny slices of a hybrid 60's psychedelic/Beatles/Stackridge, and added flavors of Jeremy Enigk, Peter Lacey, Derby, and similar gentle pop bands. Many tunes have a whimsical feel and summer of love atmosphere. With lots of added spots of handclaps, percussion, and harmonium (often referred to as reed organ), Curvey's already impressive instrument credits are: piano, acoustic guitar, acoustic bass, Ukranian flute, auto-harp, drum kit, Flying V (the only electric instrument used on the recording), and of course voice. The first track, 'The Hit Parade', will lift your spirits with a harkening back to the glory days of Buffalo Springfield and spritely classic rock.
Gregory grew up and lived in Chicago for 35 years before moving to Detroit, Michigan, where he resides today. He is most noted as leader of the Chicago psychedelic classic rock band The Luck of Eden Hall. who have a 30 year history and toured the UK (2015) with success. Beyond that, the bulk of that band's (and Custard Flux's) fans live in Europe. With friends like Nik Turner (Hawkwind), Curvey is well respected and widely known, just perhaps less so in the USA, sadly enough. 'Helium' will help spread the word with any luck. He is certainly worthy of your attention and fanbase. The title of the recording is perfect, with its airey, bring a smile set of tunes. Most who don't know Gregory will be shocked he is an American, since this music has a decidedly British sound, along with the American 60's classic rock aura.
A skillful display of mostly acoustic instruments provide a playground of celebrative music, with super nice and calming vocals. A few all instrumentals make neighborly paths to unforgettable lyrical gems throughout. Each song has layers, and quite a lot going on, with very tasteful use of assorted instrumentation. 'Out of Phase'(track 8) builds those layers with massive inclusion of know-how. A mention of Soft Machine is in the beautiful lyrics of 'Golden Opportunity' (track 9), which will be noted as an incredible song among other unforgettable compositions here. All things are laid down for a delicious and rich result. And to think that the whole project was inspired by a 100 year old harmonium Gregory obtained, with the idea that he could play anywhere without electricity.
With the end (and title) track 'Helium', you have the wrapping up of a totally beautifully done package, with talent abounding, memorable songs, and what this writer and music lover thinks is one of the best progressive pop albums of 2018. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 12 - 15 - 2018