A Joy I’d Never Seen Before

For a couple of years, some of my friends and I have been sharing music with one another. We’re supposed to review/rate whatever’s shared with us, but that doesn’t always happen.

In lieu of the obvious Halloween theme, this week we had an impromptu family band theme.

Janne Schaffer – Earmeal (1978)

Here we have a jazz fusion (so get ready for instrumentals) supergroup consisting of ABBA session guitarist Janne Schaffer and the Porcaro family (Jeff, Steve and Mike from Toto, as well as their dad, Joe). The sister, Joleen Porcaro Duddy, and their mom don’t appear.

Spencer found a different piece of album artwork, but this is what both Spotify and iTunes had, so that’s what I’m going with.

Right off the bat, it was a little harder than I anticipated. Considering its roots in ABBA and Toto, I guess I thought it would be more like jazz pop. Instead, the Hot Days section of the first tune felt like a funkier, slightly more sane Oingo Boingo, which from me is a compliment.

To a Beautiful Painter was almost what I was thinking of. It almost reminded me of Windy. But there was also some … Celtic influence there? And the guitar had too prominent a role for jazz pop, which I’m okay with. Add to that stuff like Shrimp a la Carte and Oriental Sign, and this album has a surprising amount of variety.

There were a lot of really good tunes on here, and there weren’t really any bad ones, but I think my favorite was Bromma Express. I think it had the best, funkiest groove. It was interesting, and short so it didn’t overstay it’s ideas.

I think I’ll look into more of Schaffer’s stuff. 3.5/5

The Hunts – Those Younger Days (2015)

This indie alt. rock band is made up of seven siblings, five brothers and two sisters. I don’t know how my wife found them, but she picked this album up from the library one day and we both really liked it.

My favorite two tracks are the opener (Valentina) and Ages. Remember Us, Make this Leap, Lifting the Sea and This is Love are also good, but there aren’t really any bad tracks on the album. So enjoy.

Here’s what my friends had to say:

“I wasn’t expecting as folksy of instrumentation as showed up here, but it was still good. For a 7 piece band, I’m not sure what all their extra personell where up to, but that doesn’t really matter. I enjoyed the listen and actually caught some lyrics and liked what I heard. Please Let it Go was pretty moving. Nice to to an anti-revenge song. I should mention too that the chorale ending to This is Love was really awesome. Gave me chills.” 3.8/5 – Spencer

Make use of the comments section down below, and let me know what you thought about either of these albums.

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