Friday, May 30, 2008

Remember When Music Was Fun?

When is the last time that you listened to a CD that simply was a good time, with no particular agenda, political message or angry diatribes included? Yeah, it's been quite a while for me, too. Fortunately, Alan Wilkis has the goods for what ails ya'.

Mr. Wilkis is an independent musician (record labels out there, take note, for I have no doubt this will be soon rectified) from Brooklyn who has managed to put together the most "fun" album I've heard in ages. Entitled Babies Dream Big (Buy), you can tell from the first view of the cover that you're in for a good time with this one.

Now, Wilkis sent IA a very unassuming email asking that we give his CD a try. Of course, we get literally hundreds of those same requests each week and his almost went the way of the dodo since his email, though seemingly heartfelt, didn't really say anything about the music. Fortunately, Joe gave it a spin and told me I had to check it out. As usual, Joe was absolutely correct in his summation. To open the kimono a bit further, we usually only get a track or two to review and I figured I'd only listen to the first song or two before making my decision. Suffice to say, not only could I not listen to the whole thing at once, but it's been in heavy rotation on ye olde iPod ever since.

Opening with the fantastic "Burnin'," Wilkis evokes comparisons to everyone from Steely Dan and Stevie Wonder to Beck and Lenny Kravitz. He's got a semi-retro, '80s vibe, with a synth-y feel and programmed drums throughout. There's even a bit of early Prince in there on tracks like "I'm Famous." While the sound stays rooted in the dreamy sound of '80s pop, he does drift lazily about, incorporating old school rap drum beats into "Milk and Cookies," and going all 70s R&B slow burner on "I Wanna Know." And I'll be damned if he doesn't even give shout outs to Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins on the charmingly quirky "In My Dreams."

While Mr. Wilkins arguably could work on his own self-promotion efforts, he's certainly got his own delightful brand of music down pat. Babies Dream Big is bound to start your summer off on the best foot possible, and that's a damn fine thing there.

mp3: Burnin'
mp3: I Wanna Know



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