Sightseeing Thru Music

A 11 track alternative album (45m 47s) — released October 22nd 2021 on Gare du Nord Records

Lockdown isolation does strange things to people. Few stranger than the recent twists in the mind of singer-songwriter Edward Rogers. Widely regarded in New York circles for a lyrically heartfelt, melodically lasting, musical output of numerous stylistic shifts, both through his eight solo albums and as a member of Bedsit Poets, Vagabond Hearts and Rogers & Butler, Sightseeing Thru Music is the sound of a man decisively flipping his musical lid. Something of a tribute to the free spirit and protest ethos of France circa '68 this bizarrely recorded, singularly inspired, Spring '68 production represents Rogers impulsively chucking his 'proper' music biz knowledge into the dumpster. With a daring freshness Spring '68 replicaties the enthusiasm of ingénue teenagers hyper-actively messing with old Teac 4 Tracks, beatboxes, loops, and saturating the volume levels for all they're worth. It's both deliberately, sonically, unreasonable and aided and abetted by Beatmaker extraordinaire Don Piper, very astutely produced. Within which ballpark (and stranger yet) the Brummie born, NY dwelling, Rogers' vocal inflections fully channel an inner Ian Hunter, the mighty main-Hoople sharing Rogers' strange crossbred UK Midlands/Manhattan accent. Plus c'est la même chose? Non!

Opened and bookended by the Gainsbourg-plugged-into-Isaac Hayes charms of 'A Romantic Paris', standout confections in this lysergic box of musical chocolats include the early salvo of 'High On Happiness', its propulsive rhythms and near delirious vocals projecting like a loved-up PIL or Malcom Mooney-era Can tripping on a sunny day, and 'I'm A Child Of The Universe' in which Ian Hunter goes on holiday with Yellow Magic Orchestra. Further in, 'A Role Model For Our Time' synthesises what can only be understood as psychedelic bubblegum electro baroque and the funky-folk vocal duet of 'Too Many Bloody Eyes' resurrects late 60's protest song via horror film imagery. The slinky rhythmic 'what the hell' narrative of 'Taking A Day Off From The World' see-saws exquisitely between pizzicato strings, stalking electric guitar lines and pure electronic crunch, while the swirling, melancholic 'Jane' (with lyrically sadder hints of Hoople) recasts Alice in Wonderland as a kitchen sink drama.

In keeping with Gare du Nord's reputation for showcasing genuine individuality, Sightseeing Thru Music offers a form of upbeat sanity born of crazy times. Although intensely executed and emotionally highly wrought Spring '68's cumulative vibe is one of definite 'up'. Edward Rogers observes the world's tarnish but in his personal orbit it's bright-eyed optimism and a loving authenticity all the way.

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