Doug McCurry is back for more with his brand new release titled ‘Romance Like It Was’. Last year I had the pleasure of reviewing McCurry’s solo album called ‘Seven Songs About Leaving’ (http://skopemag.com/index.php?s=Doug+McCurry) and I knew then that Doug McCurry was an extremely unique artist. The music was original and the sound was like nothing I’ve ever heard before. Much is the same on ‘Romance Like It Was’ as you will find Doug playing musical chairs once again.
Just as before, McCurry wrote all the songs, provided all vocals and produced & recorded the entire album at his own studio in Charlotte, North Carolina. Along with Doug playing guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion and loops there are also some talented, guest musicians on the 12-track recording. The songs are, without question, in the eclectic realm where all different types of styles will be hitting you. Dubbed as Alternative Pop/Rock, ‘Romance Like It Was’ is so much more than just that, so I refuse to slap any sort of label on this album. Instead, I will just say that the genre is Doug McCurry all the way with no exceptions! Just like on the last record, I find myself having a hard time classifying Doug’s music but I’m pretty sure that’s exactly how Doug planned it. Nicely played Mr. McCurry!
Another repeated detail that stood out to me was the cover art. ‘Seven Songs About Living’ caught my attention visually and ‘Romance Like It Was’ is doing much of the same. Instead of a bright sun shining on the cover, this time you’ll see two colorful & vibrant, cartoonish characters that draw you right in. The appealing images are so well-drawn and well-designed where instantly I’m thinking to myself just what is this so-called romance you speak of? And this is before I’m even hitting Play!
The record starts up with a track titled “Blast Off” where right away you hear Doug McCurry’s unconventional vocal delivery that actually comes across as a bit wacky. Moving along, the listener may catch onto a sense of humor being displayed within the music along with a fun-like atmosphere being portrayed. That’s where the Pop element comes in loud & clear on this CD. Rolling into track three “Cleveland Park” McCurry is coming way out of left field on this number by singing in a higher tone and surprising the hell out of me! Check out an offbeat sound & tempo on “Along The River” and get ready for a Presidents-Of-The-United-States-type feel on “King of Hollywood”. There are definitely some catchy tunes here and honestly I enjoyed the second half of this CD better than the first.
The instrumentation & musicianship is so incredibly diverse on this album to the point where it will make your head spin! Doug McCurry’s one-of-a-kind vision and direction comes across in a BIG way on ‘Romance Like It Was’. The one thing that I still can’t figure out here is the vocal approach. Doug’s voice is like a chameleon, which should be cool but for me it’s just confusing. I feel if Doug finds the perfect match & tone and just sticks with that then we will witness something very special. With Doug McCurry’s talent and his love for music well then there is no stopping this Charlotte native! Keep digging deeper & deeper Doug McCurry because I know that you have it in you! And in the words of Bachman-Turner Overdrive I’d like to close by saying “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”!
By Jimmy Rae (firstname.lastname@example.org)[Rating: 2.5/5]