Your Gracious Host is back, and this time it's personal. The fourth release from this esteemed Midwestern power pop outfit is called 1UP 2 DOWN and it is the most immediate, rocking outing to date. For this LP Michigan based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tom Curless has plugged in and turned the amps to 11. The knack for memorable melodies and hooks he has shown on previous records is ever present, but now there is a bit more muscle and urgency; more power to the pop. YGH has been putting out critically acclaimed independent, just-under-the-radar records for the last few years, and this one just takes it all up a notch. There is no doubt this band keeps getting stronger with every release. The first release on the newly formed Meccanic records label, 1UP 2DOWN takes a lot of musical turns from all out rock opening salvo (Made to Suffer) to a hushed acoustic closer (Sacred eye). The lyrics appear to betray a confessional confrontational tone throughout, to great effect. Familiar influences that crop up along the way are the Posies, Teenage Fanclub, Death Cab for Cutie, and even classic post punk echoes of The Jam, Split Enz and Gang of Four. The breadth of musical palettes on display within the songwriting is quite impressive and none of these songs waste any time getting to where they are going, often switching gears mid song. Notwithstanding the musicality, which now includes Wurlitzer and piano, Curless can sing and the vocals throughout are strong as we have come to expect. Bottom line, YGH takes you for a rocking, musical ride you will not want to miss, if you have missed out so far, don't delay any longer, it is time to get on board. Some past reviews for 'Sleepers Awaken': 'Tom Curless is back with his third disc in a little over two years as Your Gracious Host, serving up more of the indie-flavored power pop we got on the first two discs. The standouts this time around are the Posies-esque 'Decision Tonight', the dreamy mid-tempo 'Episode in Contrast', 'Surrender Me', which has a Well Wishers/Spinning Jennies vibe, and the Teenage Fanclub-influenced 'Reach the Shore'. Let's not keep this one a 'sleeper'. -Absolute Powerpop 'If good singing, good songs, and good playing is important to you...please check this one out. Give it a chance because it's very, very, good music! A true American original' -JAM records 'Michigan bunch led by pop aficionado Tom Curless. On this, the band's 3rd record, they seem to do what they did on their first 2 (only better) That is create chiming, jangly pop songs with excellent playing and hooks a plenty. Usually in a Teenage Fanclub vein and well worth checking out.' - Daggerzine.
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