By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa
Review: Mad Painter’s album Splashed – Release date March 15, 2023
Boston band Mad Painter released its second album on the ides of March entitled Splashed, which will appeal to all that yearn for classic rock, power pop, and prog rock. This 17-track album will keep your ears occupied for over an hour of listening. Mad Painter consists of Alex Gitlin, songwriter, vocalist, and master of the keys, who takes us on this nostalgic journey to the era of bell bottoms, platform shoes, and tie-dye t-shirts. Also, the band is comprised of Al Hendry (drums), Kenne Highland (bass), Al Naha (guitar), as well as backup singer Julie Gee, which flesh out the sound.
As one listens to the album, the songs are almost grouped by genre or theme, whether accidentally or an actual concept album. Released as singles, “Illusion” and “Rock and Roll Samurai” fall into the realm of prog rock: full-on organ solos and rhythms, 70s choral or doubling vocals, and hard-driving rhythm reminiscent of early Styx.
While sticking with the 70s period, there are jaunty, rocking, organ-driven songs like “Parting Line,” which backup female voices as an authentic touch. Think of Mott the Hoople’s album The Hoople. In a similar vein, “Stealin” (Uriah Heep) begins with vocal harmonies and organ chords before breaking into a rockin’, glammy number. The lead guitar solo is the icing on the cake.
Fans of 60s blues rock will be happy to hear “River,” and more glam ensues with “Highway Driver,” which will get that booty shaking. Also, I hear hints of Arthur Brown.
Halfway through the album, the direction changes to jaunty, bluesy, and piano-driven pop songs with a nostalgic feel. I picked up strong influences of Leon Russell (“Lie to Me”), Gilbert O’ Sullivan (I’ve Been a Fool), and Randy Newman (“Let Him Go”) with these piano-driven songs.
One thing worth mentioning is that all of the songs thus far are very danceable. The listening ride returns to art rock and glam with the humorous “Jacques.”
About ¾ through the album, the mood shifts to hints of nostalgia, show tunes, and pop. After all, if one looked at the Top 40 in the 70s, the music was a mixed bag. For example, in June 1973, Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein” was in the American Top 40, along with Dawn’s “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” and Clint Holmes’ “Playground in My Mind.” There were no specific subgenres or categories in the day. Music was music—if it was good, it made the Top 40.
We have a French chanson theme with the swinging “A Friend in France,” the jazzy “San Michel,” and “The Moon.” Our listening travels take us to the UK with the Elton Johnesque songs “I Don’t Know” and “Love Is Gold.”
Lastly, the album travels into the yacht rock era with “You Nearly Stole My Heart Away.” One stand-out song, “I Live For Love,” gives me an Eric Carmen or even a Badfinger vibe.
Overall, the album is very ambitious, with 17 songs; however, Mad Painter covers the feel of one of the greatest decades of music. In the Millennium, they capture the era’s flavor, one song at a time.
We could have easily heard these songs on the radio then—or danced to them while watching American Bandstand.
Take this as a high compliment from a 70s/80s girl.
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