The Lickerish Quartet’s second EP (released in January 2021) was a slow burner. A few of its great power pop qualities were immediately obvious, but in terms of all round hook-filled joyousness, it certainly didn’t provide that immediate sugary hit you’d expect from three ex-members of Jellyfish. In time, of course, the band’s sophisticated pop qualities shone through, and a couple of the songs eventually sounded like the best things that Roger Joseph Manning Jr., Tim Smith and Eric Dover had delivered in some time.
David Myhr’s second full length solo release (2018’s ‘Lucky Day’) presented a slightly more mature sound for the Swedish singer songwriter. The core of the record still showed off his power pop core – it was easily recognisable as the work of the man who gave the world the brilliant ‘Soundshine’ a couple of years earlier – but there were a couple of deviations into more acoustic-based material and a smoother sound. Despite being a little softer in places, the tunes worked just as well, showing a definite artistic growth as well as an influence from Josh Rouse producer Brad Jones.
The recording sessions were so fruitful that CD buyers were treated to a couple of uncredited bonus tracks. What’s more, a few other great songs were left on the shelf. The 2021 EP release ‘And Now This’ finally makes the remainder of the album sessions material available to all, and amazingly, all four tracks are every equal to the best bits of ‘Lucky Day’ itself.
Back in 2018, multi-instrumentalist, producer and one-time member of The Cure launched a new project, Astral Drive. The “band” acted as an outlet for Thornalley to revisit the kind of 70s AM radio pop he’d always loved. The album marked itself out as an instant classic, often inviting comparisons to the best works by Todd Rundgren and Jeff Lynne; the kind of record that would keep fans of classic retro pop entertained for years.
The album was then represented in stripped back arrangements on a digital release (self-titled, referred to as “The Green Album”), but it didn’t seem as if the world would see brand new music from Astral Drive again for some time…or possibly ever. The original LP almost sounded like a flash in the pan for retro cool; a perfect statement of the past, recreated for the present. To follow it up with anything as perfect would be a tall order after all.
When The Lickerish Quartet made their first appearance in the spring of 2020, power pop fans around the world rejoiced. Not only because this new band had tapped into some brilliant and shiny pop sounds worthy of 10cc and their ilk, but rather more specifically because The Lickerish Quartet reunited the much-celebrated trio of Roger Joseph Manning Jr., Tim Smith and Eric Dover – all of whom had previous connections with 90s scene makers Jellyfish.
Their debut EP, ‘Threesome, Vol. 1’ brought out the best in their combined talents. There were the obvious nods to their Jellyfish and Imperial Drag pasts throughout, but with a little less bombast, the release offered a selection of timeless pop. Its best track, ‘Bluebird’s Blues’, sounded rather like Crowded House with its semi-acoustic backbone and rich harmonies, suggesting that Tim Smith and Lickerish Quartet drummer Jeremy Stacey had absorbed a little of their influence while working with The Finn Brothers in 2005. It wasn’t Jellyfish, but very little is – nor was it ever intended to be – but as a selection of retro pop tunes in its own right, it really worked.
In November 2019, Real Gone reached its ten year anniversary of being online. To celebrate, we shared thoughts on ten albums we loved from that decade. That list came with two strict rules beyond becoming favourites: each year had to be represented by one album and each album had to in some way have helped our site to become more established.
As we reach the end of the year, it’s time to look back more broadly on some of our favourite albums of the ’10s; albums that have kept us listening for pleasure long after the reviews and coverage have been completed. If you’re a regular visitor to Real Gone, lots of these names will be familiar by now, but we hope this time for looking back helps to reconnect with a couple of old favourites, or find you a new one somewhere along the way. [Full reviews & streams can be found by clicking on the individual titles.]