Tol-Puddle Martyrs – “Polyphony” (2017) review
Tol-Puddle Martyrs – Polyphony (Secret Deals, 2017)
There is no denying all keen sixties audophiles are familiar with Tol-Puddle Martyrs, a Bendigo, Victoria, Australia band whose “Time Will Come” and “Social Cell” rank high in the sky as solid gold classics.
Led by singer, songwriter and keyboardist Peter Rechter, the group returned to life about fifteen years ago. Polyphony marks the band’s fourth studio recording since its resurrection, and reins in as yet another spectacular selection of music that galvantizes both the brain and the body. Joining Peter on the record are original Tol-Puddle Martyrs member Len Gaskell on vocals, Graham McCoy (who played with Peter in the comparably lauded Secrets) on guitars and vocals, drummer Chris Crook and Lauren Cockroft and Ros Crook on backing vocals.
Packaged in an eye candy cover of psychedelic motifs, the twelve track disc remains thoroughly loyal to the band’s tradition of parenting radio-friendly tunes. Self-penned material, teeming with potent arrangements, seizing instrumentation and swarms of strapping hooks administer each and every number on Polyphony, while the sure and sturdy Beatles meets Kinks vocal inflections beam with purpose and presence. On a lyrical level, a rich poetic quality sits at the helm. Biting wit tempered by nostalgia and good cheer inform the platter with varied themes.
Riddled with bouncy Strawberry Alarm Clock styled keyboard drills, “When I Was Young” is matched by rhythmically forceful power pop motions, “L.O.V.E” swings and sways to a jazzy pitch, and offerings such as the finger-snapping “Count Me In,” the dance hall induced “Mrs. Merkel” and the ringing waves of “Lucky With The Left Hand” convey the band’s flair for slapping industrious spins on an inviting interaction of paisley pop rock and new wave sounds. Combining the grit and abstract imagery of Bob Dylan with haunting orchestration in the name of the Bee Gees, “In My Mind” is supremely electrifying, and the sunny day-glow spunk of “Living In The City” reflects Jeff Lynne on a magical mystery tour.
Charted of airtight nuggets lit by a peppy vibe, Polyphony is one of those rare albums bleeding with universal appeal. Tol-Puddle Martyrs not only know how to compose great songs, but the band also has the talent to express these ditties with so much care and feeling that listeners are immediately drawn into their world.
– Beverly Paterson
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