Monday, April 9, 2018

THE CHANCELLOR reviews RUPERT HOLMES' 3CD set SONGS THAT SOUND LIKE MOVIES!


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RUPERT HOLMES
SONGS THAT SOUND LIKE MOVIES:
THE COMPLETE EPIC RECORDINGS

Available NOW!

If you mention the name Rupert Holmes, two songs immediately come to mind: “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” and “Him.” Those massive hits were taken from the 1979 album PARTNERS IN CRIME, still his most popular studio release. However, what many don’t realize is that Rupert had been an extremely busy musician and since the late ‘60s.  From being a member and songwriter in The Cuff Links and The Buoys during Bubblegum's heyday, Rupert would then go on to work with many successful and influential artists over the years including Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow, The Partridge Family and Sparks. Not only that, he had already released four full-length solo platters prior to his commercial breakthrough album. And since then, he has added playwright and author to his very large resume. But before we spend all day creating a list of his many accomplishments, let’s focus on the beginning of his solo career in the mid- ‘70s.

His first three solo albums released on the Epic Records label – WIDESCREEN (1974), RUPERT HOLMES (1975) and SINGLES (1976) – have just been digitally remastered, expanded and compiled on the three CD box set SONGS THAT SOUND LIKE MOVIES: THE COMPLETE EPIC RECORDINGS courtesy of Cherry Red Records. These albums may be 40+ years old but the warmth of the production and Rupert’s expert Pop craftsmanship have kept them timeless slices of ‘70s sophistication. The title of this set does not lie – these truly are songs that are cinematic in scope, filled with depth and imagination. 

While it would be safe to compare Rupert’s early masterpieces to artists like Billy Joel, Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman and Harry Chapin, to compare him to anyone would be a disservice to Holmes.  It is true that Rupert’s albums would definitely appeal to fans of those artists’ but Holmes is really his own man. He should actually be listed alongside them rather than being compared to them.  One listen to this set and you’re sure to agree.


WIDESCREEN is the first of the three albums and it reveals a talent well beyond his years. Tracks like “Terminal,” “Our National Pastime,” “Talk,” “Phantom Of The Opera,” and the title track are instantly lovable slices of intelligent, well-written tales with melodies that are hard to deny. Bonus tracks include very rare live recordings from 1978 and a few other tidbits.

The self-titled sophomore album expands upon the musical themes of first album, adding some Rock, Disco, and Soul into the mix. “Brass Knuckles”, “Rifles And Rum,” and “Everything Gets Better When You’re Drunk,” are a little beefier than tracks off the debut. “The Place Where Failure Goes” is a gem of a Pop tune. “I Don’t Want To Hold Your Hand” is a song about The Beatles which includes lyrical and musical nods to the Fab Four just five short years after their split. There are some nice ballads here as well, making RUPERT HOLMES an excellent follow-up to the debut. No sophomore slump here, folks. Bonus tracks include rare live recordings.



Contrary to what you would think, SINGLES is not a collection of Rupert’s seven-inch singles. Actually, it is a most excellent album that continues to blend Rupert’s skills as a songwriter, arranger and storyteller. However, this time, he’s less cinematic and more hook-conscious. There’s still a touch of Soul in the mix as Rupert’s Pop melodies rise to the surface, making some of this material the most immediate in this box set. “Who, What, When, Where, Why” sound like a hit single – a mix of Billy Joel and Steely Dan. “Aw Shucks” is a rockin’, horn-fueled gem that is one of the album’s many outstanding gems.  “For Beginners Only” is a sock hop pastiche that might have easily fit on a Neil Sedaka album from the ‘70s. “I Don’t Want To Get Over You” and “The Last Of The Romantics” are just a few more highlights.



In a way, listening to this set is a bit like living in a world created by Neil Simon.  And that is a wonderful thing….


Keep on truckin’,
Stephen THE CHANCELLOR Schnee


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