Asking the musical question of what ever happened to love, GospelbeacH returns with an answer and Another Summer of Love ; a magnificent follow-up to their Pacific Surf Line debut. A contemplative collection that wears its influences on its sleeve- from Neil Young to Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers- the set’s theme of love stories is accented effectively by a catalogue of rock stylings: moving easily between the ‘60s pop-bop chorus of “Hangin’ On,” the sly lyrical nod to The Hollies’ “Carrie Anne” on “Sad Country Boy,” the tambourine shake of “Kathleen,” and the punky sprinter “Runnin’ Blind,” that pulls up for a psych-trot.
Songwriter/guitarist Brent Rademaker’s dreamy vocal navigates the hazy open spaces of “In the Desert” and cedes nicely to crunching garage guitar from Jason Soda highlighting the Crazy Horse-like break in “Strange Days.” The duo and keyboardist Jonny Niemann comprise the proper band, with friends such as drummer George Sluppick (Chris Robinson Brotherhood) chipping in. Soda is a true ace-in-the-hole, mixing and producing the album, and covering the variety of guitar necessities with aplomb. Rademaker, like Petty, is a Florida transplant to California, and shares Petty’s sense of arc and pace, tracing lines smoothly from start to finish, most notably sharing the Heartbreakers frontman’s snarling whine on “California Fantasy.”
Despite the title, this is no sound-alike nostalgia trip back to ‘67. This is determined music, as evolved as it is respectful of its roots. If there were still such a thing as A&R reps scouting out rock and roll for major labels, they’d find what they were looking for in GospelbeacH.