The Scarlet Goodbye – Hope’s Eternal
While not as brightly vocal as the Everly Brothers as a duo, Jeff Arundel & Daniel D. Murphy fall between The Eagles, Foster & Brooks & Blackhawk. There is an edginess under the surface & even with their high-pitched vocal treatment, they whip out some effective aggressive melodies (“Panic & Blame,” & “Angel Dust”) with chiming guitars bold & fun. The melodies are strong & the instrumentation is woven tight & clean. Quite appealing.
The 44-minute CD Hope’s Eternal (Drops March 24-Angel Dust Records) was produced by Jeff Arundel (vocals/guitars/keys/piano/percussion) at Avalon Studios in Minnesota with additional production by Daniel D. Murphy (vocals/guitars/piano).
The Minnesota music veterans are polar opposites but for some reason, their creativity works on this 12-cut collection. Murphy, former Soul Asylum & Golden Smog joined forces with Arundel — a singer-songwriter/solo artist in the tradition of James Taylor & Jackson Browne.
So, the collaboration is an interesting mix. Jeff’s songs tend to be written from a personal perspective as most singer-songwriters would. But having released several solo projects Jeff has explored many musical avenues & genres.
Murphy, however, leans more into an alternative rock songwriting style as he was co-founder & lead guitarist of Soul Asylum (1981-2012). Murphy (aka David Spear due to contractual issues) then moved on to a more rootsier/alt-country with Golden Smog (joined by former members of The Replacements, Run, Westy Run & The Jayhawks).
The songs in this LP are assertive rootsy-pop-oriented nuggets (“Rosary,” “Sandy”) that maintain their loyalty to the music while still being able to push through a melody that fits fine on a radio-focused single. While not as serious as bands like Buffalo Springfield-The Paupers (“Yes, I Know”) they tend to lean into that arena with the validity of their alt-rock & country mix between Jeff & Daniel.
A cover of Bob Mould’s “Celebrated Summer” works well within the album’s context. I like the contrast of the alternative music approach with the pristine country acoustic playing. None of the songs are challenging, thought-provoking & yet none are filler. They each have a well-thought-out little arrangement. The slower songs may not be as compelling to some listeners, but the songs are well-written & performed, nonetheless.
Musicians – Ben Peterson (drums), Patrick Nelson (bass), Michael W. Nelson (percussion/keys), Kenny Wilson (lap steel guitar), Pat Frederick (violin/piano/backing vocals), John Fields (shaker) & Jeff Victor (keyboards/vocal.
Highlights – “Panic & Blame,” “Angel Dust,” “Surprised,” “The Ballad of Julie Ann,” “Firefly,” “Sandy,” “Minor Things,” & “Celebrated Summer”
Color images courtesy of Scarlet Goodbye website. CD @ Amazon & https://thescarletgoodbye.com/
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