Listen Up: Gold Motel, Asia, Flo Rida
This week in music
By Brian Mansfield, Jerry Shriver and Elysa Gardner, USA TODAYJuly 2, 2012
With Gold Motel, The Hush Sound's Greta Morgan has traded the piano pop of her old band for guitar-driven power-pop. The quintet's best songs recall the summery winsomeness of late-'60s and early-'70s AM radio hits, especially when guitarist Dan Duzynzski bears down on the tremolo or shares the mike with Morgan.
The most accessible of the '80s prog-rock groups celebrates its 30th anniversary with its best album since 1983's Alpha. All the elements of early hits Heat of the Moment and Don't Cry are in place — sophisticated, tuneful melodies; massive drum fills; and fleet guitar runs. Close attention to the songs reveals weak spots in the lyrics, but fans will hardly notice.
This promising pairing of Nashville singer/songwriter Williams with bluegrass royalty should have borne more fruit. Pick combines Williams originals (and one from the McCourys) with covers of songs by Steve Earle (The Graveyard Shift), My Morning Jacket (I'm Amazed) and others. The picking and singing are fine, but a few too many of the songs are corny novelties.
Boys just want to want to have fun, Flo Rida is keen to remind us — occasionally, as on the mischievous Whistle, with not-so-subtle innuendo. But his straightforward-to-a-fault delivery seems oddly joyless. His female collaborators show more warmth — even Jennifer Lopez, in her electronically enhanced chirping on Sweet Spot.
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