Review in Within Us Without Us

Posted on Jun 28, 2011 | 0 comments

As posted on withinuswithoutus.wordpress.com

Ok so; first things first – Who are Red Button?  Well, let’s look a bit into their official bio taken from their webpage:

The Red Button is the refreshingly retro collaboration between singer-songwriters Seth Swirsky and Mike Ruekberg. Their original songs showcase their shared passion for the juicy melodies and catchy hooks of the pop music of the ’60s and ’70s, yet still crackle with present day energy. You will not be able to resist the urge to sing along. The two met in 2005 and hit it off immediately; both of them admiring each other’s songs, and sharing a taste for vintage pop. So, they got together and started writing and recording songs. They found that Swirsky’s tuneful optimism balanced nicely with Ruekberg’s  pessimistic but passionate style. Their first album “She’s About to Cross My Mind”, in 2007, was the result of those sessions.After winning many “year-end” polls for Album of the Year with “She’s About to Cross My Mind” and being dubbed by the influential music Magazine SHINDIG! as the new “Power Pop Princes”, they are back with their second album of original material called “As Far As Yesterday Goes”, released on June 1, 2011.

Kewl, now with all introductions properly completed I can proudly and humbly state that I count Seth Swirsky as a personal friend (haven’t had the pleasure to meet Mike yet) so this review may seem a bit biased… but believe me, it’s far from it, as Seth (and Mike) are extremely talented musicians from the West Coast who, in 2011, deliver an incredible follow up to their “She’s About to Cross My Mind” album from a few years back.  As soon as it came in the mail (thanks Seth) I popped it into the car stereo and was taken to the multi colored musical world of Red Button.

Track 1 – Caught in The Middle: Opens with a very Lennon-esque harmonica (or mouth organ as he called it) drenched in “Please, Please Me” vibes.  Mike & Seth take us to Liverpool and rock out The Cavern Club with this Beatles inspired tune.  Even down to the guitar break we are taken decades back to “the only music that only mattered”.  “You’re a kid inside a candy store” indeed.

Track 2 – As Far As Yesterday Goes – Talk about clever lyrics.  According to the guy in the song, she was the one to leave… although he acknowledges that he could have done things better; but still no reason to break up.  The weaving of the title into the song is highly clever and the middle instrumental keyboards is the subtle touch that makes this song even more magical.  Towards the end the instruments begin to drop out almost one by one and the song brings you back to ground as on a gentle parachute.  Melodic, heartfelt and clever indeed.

Track 3 – Picture – A “memories” song… great singing, playing and harmonies that swoon the listener into a beautifully played piano middle part.  “Found the letter that you sent me long ago; still can’t read your writing; Said you didn’t know if you were coming home; Guess that you’re still deciding”… Who writes like this anymore? Hardly anyone – That’s what makes this song and album so inviting.

Track 4 – Girl, Dont – Ringing “Byrds” guitar open this subtle rocker.  A “don’t tell me you think we’re through song”, and though it’s been sung before; the retro 60′s vibe makes it a simple yet melodic adventure, once again, into the “Come Back” world of 60′s pop.  Oh the harmonies, the harmonies which Seth and Mike are so great at frames this gem gorgeously.  What starts softly and subtle starts to pick up and into 3/4 of the songs their voices become a bit more gruff as if he is literally pleading with the girl to… well… “Don’t”…

Track 5 – Easier – At the moment one of my favorites on this album.  Talk about the guy surrendering intelligently to avoid more arguments and discussions… What in a movie would translate into; “Okay you win, I lose ok?”; Red Button says with such finesse in such a way that I can’t see how any girl would not want to give the guy a second (third?) chance.  The subtle Harrison slide guitar doesn’t hurt none either.  I guess this song just has to be experienced as words can’t do it justice… “Let’s say we’re both a little wrong… it’s easier than being right”.

Track 6 – Sandreen – Starts with a subtle bang (notice how much I use the word “subtle” as nothing on this album is in your face… the pop rock just kind creeps up on you).  It rocks, it sways, it even bossa-novas very gently and the guitar hook will stay stuck in your membrane for the longest.  Sandreen must be quite a girl…

Track 7 – On a Summer Day – The nylon strings of the acoustic guitar in the opening strands set the stage for the summer day Red Button aludes to.  But the mood is joined quickly by a soft jangly guitar in the background… Is that 10cc joining in on harmonies; cowbell and all? – Nice, sweet tune… trumpet and all… (Herbie Alpert?)… ;)

Track 8 – She Growns Where She’s Planted – “She grows where she’s planted… and she’s planted here with me… She blooms in the morning and she sways so gracefully” ringing guitar afterwards… Need I say more?…

Track 9 – You Do Something to Me – Ukelele intro, a slight reaggae feel with a strumming acoustic and we’re off and running.  A feel good song complete with Brian Wilson “ba-ba-ba’s”… Fun listen.

Track 10 – I Can’t Forget – “It was a day she will remember, it was a night a night I can’t forget”… Drums, Ringing Guitars, Harmonies… and like the opening track this is another great throwback to great days of the British Invasion as only Red Button could envision and deliver.

Track 11 – Genevieve – This song as a nice “live” feel to it – The girl’s name alone is beautiful, so is this song.  She wants to leave, he doesn’t want her to and so it goes… been said and done before but RB can turn a weary theme into a rainbow of sounds that beg the listener to turn the volume up, play loud, sit back and indulge.

Track 12 – Running Away – “I’m always running away… from myself” – Nice period at the end of a great essay… and that is what this album is; a masterpiece of a musical essay, a labour of love and a joy to listen to

Miguel Motta – Reviewed on 6/28/2011

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