I was having a conversation on Facebook earlier this afternoon during which I said that I couldn't remember a time when the quality of pop music was so uniformly high. A record like Maxi Dunn's just-released Edmund & Leo is a prime example of this--it's a record that ups the ante for all recording artists, that flat-out announces itself as a classic right from note number one.
The majestic, perfectly modulated title cut, first out of the gate, starts with some random background chatter, a repeating piano figure, and then Dunn's seductive vocal backed up with slowly intensifying percussion and a background choir. The song gains power and prominence as it moves forward, percussion accents propelling the melody forward until it ends with its grand aural statement. It's quite a performance that sets the tone for the rest of the record.
There's something rather special about the whole of Edmund & Leo, and that's the special details that populate the songs, particularly the skillfully and cleverly created and arranged background vocals, particularly in songs like the lovely mid-tempo ballad "Dragonfly," whose swooning la-la's excite the emotive lead vocal. In some instances, it's all the elements of a particular song celebrating its strengths as in the pleasing, pop pleasures of "Change the Record" and "Take It or Leave It."
And, sometimes, it's the surprising connection to the past that puts a smile on your face, as with the Buddy Holly ballad vibe of "Cover Me." But really, it's all the elements of these wonderful songs that take this record to the next level. Edmund & Leo is an astounding achievement for Maxi Dunn and her listeners, and it's a record that can not and will not be ignored.
Listen for "Edmund & Leo," "Change the Record," "Dragonfly," "Take It or Leave It," and "Cover Me" gracing the mix on Pure Pop Radio in the next few days.