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Album review

Ron Pope 

Calling Off The Dogs

added: 14 Feb 2014 // release date: 10 Feb 2014 // label: Ron Pope Music
reviewer: David Spencer

Ron Pope - Calling Off The Dogs - Printable version
Since 2007, Ron Pope has been prolific in the United States, releasing nine albums, including Calling Off The Dogs, yet this is only his second UK release. He remains largely unknown to a wider British audience, but has built up a strong internet following, particularly on the back of his hit A Drop In The Ocean. To underline his growing UK audience, Pope has just played seven packed out shows across the country.

His latest release starts in a misleading fashion with the cheesy and catchy opening bursts of Lick My Wounds and Empty Page, two tracks that would not sound out of place in a Maroon 5 set, with the latter an impressive slice of pop-rock. But after those two tracks there is a moodier, more arty feel to the album. Where his strokes of guitar and keyboard work best are when they create atmospheric soundscapes that paint pictures in your mind, like on the terrific Silver Spoon, where his vocal has echoes of Nils Lofgren.

Push Me Away has a similar feel, with added singalong chants, while the closing violin laced Blood From A Stone has a painful vulnerability. Elsewhere though the textures on Pope's pallet are a little too beige, with the splashes of colour hinted at on the cover of the album somewhat lacking. Nothing's emotional torment - which features the impressive vocals of Alexz Johnson - is set to feature in the background to many US dramas, but it is never clear whether that is a good or a bad thing.


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3 stars

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