I saw some awesome footage of whales mere feet from the shore along Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula the other day, feeding the great schools of capelin as they roll onto the beaches. It was such an amazing sight, I started thinking about visiting next year for this spectacle. That got me thinking about all the great music I've seen other times in Newfoundland, and that reminded me that Chris Picco of the favourite band Long Distance Runners has a new album out.
The Runners ("On hiatus," says Picco), made three strong albums of much admired, and much-nominated pop-rock, including a Juno nomination for their last release, 2015's Elements. On this, his first full solo album since then, Picco ups the ante, challenging himself to be even more tuneful, catchy, and gorgeous. Plus, he played all the instruments himself, so the pressure was on. He had to write and make a grand power-pop album.
Mission accomplished. The lovely "The Only One" is a '70's-style ballad, a little bit Wings, with heart-tugging vocals and gorgeous harmonies. "Woman Understand" doesn't pull any punches, it's a direct love song, Picco following his heart right into falsetto, with lots of shimmering synth and piano. There's rockier fare, like "Make It Up To You," but even this guitar cut has a killer melody and brilliant chorus. It's all ear candy with an edge, pretty much my most-loved sound.