Album Review: Luna Bridge – Alan Madej

“Luna Bridge” is the second official album recorded by Alan Madej, local musical hero.  His CD is very DIY, with photographs and a felt cover that he hand-created.  The album was recorded down in Kent by Charlie Loudin, and features Matt Valerino on bass and Alex Madej on drums.  Most of the songs are written and arranged by Alan Madej.

The album opens with a song that’s so heartwarming it might make you sick, “Second Star (Straight Until Sunday)”.  Tight, wistful harmonies sail through happy, yet simultaneously melancholy lyrics, accompanies by lovely piano accents.  “So True” is a little rougher in arrangement, with chunky guitar and bluesy, wailing vocals.  Followed by a very folksy, old-timey style song with “Malora Rising (Melora’s Theme)”, written by J. Rollins.  The pace picks up, however, with “Laficadio (The Lion)”, which seems joyful in spite of the pessimistic lyrics.  A jazzy, spirited rhythm leads to a great breakdown at the end of the song.

“Pizza and Fairytales”, aside from being an awesome song title, is a solid, darker sounding track with great lyrics throughout it. “New Moon”, takes us into a intense dynamic with a heart-pumping build and rockin’ climax.  There’s a heavy Harry Nilsson influence present here.  Followed by “Sick with You”, written by and performed with Corissa Bragg.  This one has a much slower pace, steady, quiet and smooth, it’s like a sleepy, melancholy rainy day.  The type where you need to sit at the window and watch the raindrops wind down the pane.

The entire album, like Alan, has a beatnik-y feel to it, from the lyric themes to the combination of punchy, rockabilly rhythms to folksier, more wistful vocals.  “xxxxxooo” really delivers, with rough and tumble rock riffs, a swingin horn section, and the feel of being in a smoky, gritty 50’s biker bar.  The album drives forward with a faster pace and a little roughness around the edges.

With definitive influence from Buddy Holly, George Harrison, and Bob Dylan, the album flows between sweet, starry love songs, to heavy, lo-fi rock, from candied folk to diesel punch.  Smooth like soda, “(On the) Sunnyside of Life” almost makes you holler “whoa, Beatles!” and it’s almost impossible to listen to the title track “Luna Bridge” without feeling better about life.  The lyrics are intelligently touching, and on the whole the songs are well-paced and dynamic, leaving the listener constantly entertained.

You can find more from Alan Madej at http://www.madejblog.blogspot.com/ or at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Alan-Madej/237625316274429  He almost always has his CDs available at his shows!

by Samantha Baine

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