\'Allen\'s delectable hooks and acoustic-based folk-pop shine through on Pale Hollow; what you get is shimmering and absolutely melodic. With a wide range of influences and a broad palette of instrumentation, Allen offers up rich pedal steel, shades of alt-country and that jangle that recalls many of those early records Mitch Easter produced. After \'Gustav\'s Dream,\' \'Soul Explosion,\' \'Satisfied Mind\' (do kids under 35 even know who Al \'Year of the Cat\' Stewart is?!?) and \'Roll the Stone Away,\' you begin to thrill at Allen\'s uncanny ability to nail a hook and blend pop, rock and folk components into something sublime. You get shades of the Kinks and Donovan, hues of early R.E.M., a hearty helping of Britpop (\'Let the Change Begin\' could be a sober Oasis) and just enough of that Don Kirshner 70s \'Rock Concert\' vibe to keep the active listener just so.\' From Cool Cleveland Managing Editor Peter Chakerian firstname.lastname@example.org \'If you didn\'t know better, you\'d swear that Cleveland\'s Michael Allen was British! Even the photo on the CD cover looks like something outta the UK! The songs on his brilliant, hook-filled debut have a decidedly Brit folk-rock slant to them. His slightly raspy vocal style recalls the great Peter Bruntnell and even a little bit of Roy Harper at times. \'Roll The Stone Away\' is very Ian Hunter-like. This guitar-filled record was recorded in Detroit with producer Al Sutton (Detroit Cobras). This could\'ve been Peter Bruntnell\'s record made between \'Camelot In Smithereens\' and \'Normal For Bridgewater\'! Imagine Peter Bruntnell backed by Crazy Horse! \'Sugarcane\' and \'Remains Of Yesterday\' are simply stellar examples of power roots pop! One of, if not \'the\', roots pop releases of the year! Can\'t say enough about this one! GREAT!!!\' - KoolKatMusik.com \'Pale Hollow mastermind Michael Allen is a songwriter\'s songwriter. He\'s aware that a tune needs more than just a catchy chorus. And even though the hooks come fast and furious on Pale Hollow\'s debut, Allen builds on his acoustic skeletons with an array of instruments to form a melodic slice of pop rock. Pale Hollow was originally going to be a solo acoustic project, but Allen recruited some Detroit musicians to give the record a richer sound: The pedal steel in \'Don\'t It Leave You Lonely\' and the tuneful electric guitar of \'Gustav\'s Dream\' enhance the songs without obscuring their hooks.\' By Matt Gorey - Scene Magazine \'Local singer-guitarist Michael Allen went to Detroit\'s Rustbelt Studios to record this album with producer Al Sutton (Detroit Cobras, Dirtbombs). It proved to be a good move as the album sounds like a real pro recording, though it\'s certainly not as sloppy and garage-oriented as the Cobras and Dirtbombs. Rather, Allen goes for a fuller sound that\'s more rooted in Britpop (think of something along the lines of the Verve meets Guided by Voices). In addition to some fine guitar work, tunes such as \'Sugarcane\' and \'Gustav\'s Dream\' are catchy and suggest Allen might just be one of the best (if unheralded) songwriters on the local scene. - JN email@example.com \'Now here\'s an exceptional disc. Pale Hollow is Cleveland\'s Michael Allen and he recorded this album in Detroit, but don\'t be fooled - this is the sound of the English Midlands rather than the US Rustbelt, and he\'s given us a tasteful disc of the highest craft. Think Muswell-era Kinks as interpreted by Teenage Fanclub with an attention to craft and detail, and you have an early Best of 2008 favorite (Yes, the disc came out in December of 2007. So sue me.) \'Don\'t It Leave You Lonely\' opens the disc and gives you a great idea of what you\'re in for the rest of the way. Coming down like a great lost Laurel Canyon 70s-era track, it's breezy melody and midtempo beauty let you know that a pro is at work. \'Sugarcane\' follows with a more rocking sound, almost Neil Young-ish in parts but with a wonderfully melodic middle eight that will leave you humming. \'Let the Change Begin\' almost sounds like a grown-up Oasis; \'Roll The Stone Away\' reminds me of prime Peter Bruntnell; \'Satisfied Mind\' is excellent folk-rock in a Donovan-meets-Al Stewart manner, and \'Soul Explosion\' would make Ray Davies proud. A very pleasant surprise indeed, and kudos to Kool Kat for unearthing this gem. While it may not appeal to the under-35 crowd, music fans of any age would be well served to add this one to their collection.\' - Absolute Powerpop.
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