Allyson Seconds’ “Little World” Delivers Psych and California Power Pop

21 Dec

Sometimes a dash of goodness, a taste of something uplifting, is precisely what you need. And such is the case with the new album from Sacramento artist, Allyson Seconds. Seconds’ sophomore effort, Little World, features 11 tracks of indie psych-rock and power pop with a generous dose of the California sunshine that’s found year-round in her hometown.

On the album, Seconds plays and sings with an amazing all-star cast of talent, starting with Anton Barbeau. The Sacramento native, who now lives and works most of the year in his adopted home of Berlin, Germany, wrote and produced all of the songs — in addition to performing as a multi-instrumentalist on each of the tracks. Other key contributors include Allyson’s husband, Kevin, of the hardcore punk band, 7 Seconds; Colin Moulding, noted bass player and singer-songwriter for XTC; Kimberley Rew, vocalist for Katrina & the Waves; Nick Saloman of Bevis Frond; and Karla Kane, lead vocalist and singer-songwriter for The Corner Laughers.

Many of the melodies have a Beatles-like feeling. Songs are melodic and catchy, yet also intriguingly complex with effects and unexpected sidetrips into an edgy guitar riff or otherworldly psychedelic landscape.

Barbeau’s lyrics are smart and savvy, with many appealing turns of phrase that paint compelling word pictures.

Standouts include: “Dust Beneath my Wings” — the best on the album — with layers of noise added to Wurlitzer organ, guitar and strings. Seconds’ vocals are simple, throaty and earnest, drawing you into the story. The lead break gets very noisy and psychedelic, with a little Beatles-style backwards talking or singing.

The title track, “Little World,” features a rapid drumbox beat and pulsing fuzz bass, electric piano, and toe-tapping melody. “Octagon” is a simple, sunny ballad that will stick with you long after it’s finished playing.

“Great Blue Heron” is mysterious with multiple musical layers including 12-string guitar, bouzouki, organ, and strings. There’s a bit of a Middle Eastern flavor in places. And don’t overlook the last full track on the album, “Apples Are Falling.” The song has a stately tempo and again, a Beatles-like flavor. Seconds’ vocals are weighty, but warm. There’s a trumpet solo in the lead break. And if you listen closely, you can hear the apples falling from time to time.

By the way, if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and you’d like to see Allyson Seconds live —together with Anton Barbeau, and The Corner Laughers — they’ll be at the Neck of the Woods in San Francisco this Thursday, December 22nd at 8 p.m. Don’t miss it!

 

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