Jet Fighter Records
If you were to ask most any random millennial scenester about pop music, they’d likely point to disposable “product” from the current slew of post-Disney Channel “personalities.” However, if you asked a pop purist – a true blue connoisseur of the genre, they’d likely point to the good stuff, the real stuff – classic records such as Revolver, Pet Sounds and Something/Anything? And it’s those folks – the authentic aficionados of the craft who have considerable cause to celebrate the release of the latest from New York Times best-selling author and acclaimed singer/songwriter, and multi instrumentalist, Ken Sharp.
Sharp sets the bar high, right from the get-go, kicking off his fourth record (his first in nine years) with the super-hooky and explosive “Dynamite and Kerosene.” Featuring studio contributions from Knack bassist, Prescott Niles, and Babys guitarist, Wally Stocker, this one really zings and sets the stage perfectly for the 14-song pop tour de force. In fact, New Mourning offers an array of all-star performances, including guest appearances by superstar Rick Springfield on guitar and former New England/Alcatraz keyboardist, Jimmy Waldo on the high-energy earworm, “Satellite.”
MOJO magazine’s Mat Snow once referred to Ken Sharp as, “a shining light in the world of power pop” – an assertion with which I’d agree wholeheartedly. Possessing a personal pop penchant, New Mourning sounds (to me) much like a magical bowl of Skittles, boasting a rainbow of musical flavors, colors and influences. Personal highlights include the “Summer of Love”-style, “Solid Ground,” the guitar-driven, “Burn and Crash,” and the organically engaging, “I Should Have Known.”
A master songsmith, Sharp wrote all 14 tracks on New Mourning, and he delivers delightful twists at every musical turn – bombarding listeners with hypnotic melodies that sound so gosh-darn happy, that one might actually miss some of the deeper and darker lyrical messages – he’s sneaky like that. And as someone who admittedly (and proudly) still owns (and wears) my pair of prized Alex Chilton Underoos, I found the record to be a particular treat. Even legendary chart-busting singer/songwriter, Eric Carmen, recently referred to New Mourning as, “Sharp’s best work yet!”