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Changes Near

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Changes Near: A Family Affair

    For two brothers growing up in Southern California, it's only natural they might be influenced by the magical music wafting out of Laurel Canyon, even if most of that magic occurred while they were still a glimmer in their famous father's eye. Dominic and Rob Campanella (sons of actor Joseph) have recorded their second album with their group The Quarter After, and we all know that sophomore efforts can sometimes suffer (especially because of expectations). The new album, Changes Near, delivers all of the goods we heard on their debut and more. Though featuring a wide variety of sounds and styles, it's a stronger, more cohesive effort, and their songwriting and musical maturity shines. Bass player Dave Koenig's opening riff kicks off "Sanctuary," a driving, rhythmic song that drops into a spacey reverie before kicking it back into gear (I can hear Murmur in the distance). The next track, "She Revolves," is about as perfect as rock music gets, and not just because of Dominic's "worthy heir to Gene Clark" vocals. Nelson Bragg's syncopation is superb, and the electric 12 string and 6 string counterplay had me literally bouncing around in my chair as I wrote this. Classic phrasing with "I fell into a conversation with her, and she spoke just like a brand new day," and you can hear Rob having a lot of fun with what sounds like an impromptu bridge. On the rollicking "Counting The Score," they skillfully move into Dillards territory with some fine country pickin', and then it's back to rock 'n' roll (and even some power chords) with "See How Good It Feels." The themes of transformation and of movement through much of the record can be heard in the words: “What is it you're waiting for, underneath there's so much more. Shed the skin that holds you in, when you're ready you'll begin to see how good it feels to breathe and to receive ... love.” After a rave-up, it's time to float away. The cow punk feel of "Early Morning Rider" breaks with "are you gonna ride away," and we do, on a wave of trumpets and cascading guitars. "Nothing Out of Something" is a powerful centerpiece with that great guitar crunch reminiscent of a former resident of another nearby Southern California canyon and his band Crazy Horse. Angelic chorus courtesy of Miranda Lee Richards, Mara Keagle (Electromagnetic), and another Campanella, Christina. "Changes Near" was co-written by brother Andy (he also provides a variety of percussion on the album), and after the opening chimes of Dom's 12 string, the song slows with some tasty pedal steel from Eric Heywood that would make Sneaky Pete proud. After the march drum break and a vocal crescendo, we're treated to a psychedelic guitar flourish from Rob on his Vox that might be my favorite moment on the album. "Winter Song" is all ethereal grandeur with tablas and mellotron to round out this soundscape (do I actually hear echoes of Zeppelin for a moment?). “The cold and gray will take it's leave summer day” We cleanse our palate with "Turning Away" before the superb intro to "This Is How I Want To Know You," which may or may not be a little nod to Rob's good friend Anton Newcombe. We hear the strong Campanella brother harmonies as the song builds with strong guitar interplay. Those harmonies are showcased to an even greater extent on the next song, "Follow Your Own Way," co-written by drummer Bragg, featuring the mantra "Let go the sorrow, leave yesterday, embrace tomorrow, love today." The album's finale, "Sempre Avanti," is a tribute to their Uncle Frank, a renowned character actor who passed away in 2006. Subtitled "Johnny Marr's Not Dead," it features some of that "How Soon Is Now" tremelo, especially in the haunting coda. The overall production quality is absolutely first rate, which is

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