As Bleu explains, "that was another big idea behind the project: almost everybody involved is a producer and has a home studio set-up and loves other producers. I basically executive- produced the album; everyone else produced their own parts. That was one of my goals, to get all these producers and let them do their thing and see what happens." Alpacas Orgling is an ingeniously arranged evocation of the orchestral pop-rock of the mid-seventies, a sound built for the eclectic AM-radio pop charts of the time, but also cool enough to resonate for years on the FM dial. It's a style epitomized by the sweeping productions of the Electric Light Orchestra, which created a technologically enhanced wall of sound as grand and wonderful as Phil Spector's "teenage symphonies" of the mid-sixties.
This is no mere homage to an earlier era, however, simply compiling familiar songs from back in the day. Rather, all of these lush, vocal-stacked and hook-packed tunes are originals, composed by a collective of pop-obsessed, genre-jumping contemporary musicians. Among the collaborators assembled here as L.E.O. are vocalist Andy Sturmer, from nineties power pop-icon Jellyfish; singer-guitarist Mike Viola, formerly of the Candy Butchers and producer of the Oscar-nominated movie theme "That Thing You Do!"; multi-platinum producer John Fields; Papas Fritas founder/producer Tony Goddess; Matt Mahaffey of the acclaimed one-man-band Self; Jason Scheff, vocalist and bassist for the legendary band Chicago; singer-songwriter Paula Kelley; Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman; and even the Hanson brothers. This wildly eclectic crew was brought together by Boston pop auteur Bleu (William James McAuley III), who whimsically decided to embark on this unique project four years ago and managed to cajole his many far-flung pals to join him for the ride. Every name on the album credits for Alpacas Orgling makes for great googling.
The interconnections among these players suggest there's a thriving, parallel pop universe in which artists like Bleu make music that's both serious-minded and light-hearted, reclaiming familiar sounds from pop's past to ensure its healthy future. It's a place just beyond the mainstream, but not that hard to find. Alpacas Orgling is all the more compelling because these relatively unsung pop heroes have managed to effortlessly recreate, in clever and cheap do-it-yourself fashion, an expensive and much-labored-over studio sound. Along the way, L.E.O.
gives their work emotional depth by injecting it with romance, wit and yearning. Alpacas Orgling is pop music designed for an instant of pleasure, yet secretly built to last. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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