By: Will Phoenix
Bubble Gum Orchestra (pop) rocks! For those readers coming in late, Bubble Gum Orchestra is the pet project of multiinstrumentalist, and singer-songwriter Michael Laine Hildebrandt. Sticky Love Songs Vol. 1 & 2 is his fifth audio offering from the Texas-based talent.
On this 20-track album, Hildebrandt leads the way on vocals, bass, drums, keyboards, synthesizer, piano, and guitar. He is ably assisted by his brother Douglas on lead and rhythm guitar. The classic rock-E.L.O. (Electric Light Orchestra-inspired power pop signature sound is back with a vengeance on this new release.
The album opens on one of the best songs on the disc “You Called To Tell Me”. This is at first incredibly reminiscent of “Eldorado” and yet not quite derivative of Jeff Lynne’s ELO at it’s best. Yes, no doubt about it, BGO is back, boys and girls.
“It Was Gone” continues to further establish the act’s signature sound of tribute-tinged strings, keys, guitar riffs and production values. Lyrically, it’s a memorable musical heartbreaker. It’s quickly followed by “My World Blue” where the musical arrangements become more interesting and involved.
The next number, “To Someone Else”, is perhaps one of the best track here. It has a sincerity to it and is highlighted by a noteworthy guitar solo as well. “You’re Some Kind Of Crazy” comes next as yet another example of Hildebrandt’s writing skills on an album where all the songs appear in the order in which they were written.
The sunny, sounds-like-a-single “Peppermint Smile” is sure to be a fan fave. This song is about meeting that perfect girl. It is vaguely reminiscent of (Paul McCartney and) Wings and has a memorable middle eight. “You Gave Up On Love” is one of those Boston-like bits that is highlighted by guest singer Lannie Flowers.
“I’m Not The Man” is another of those songs that seem to have multiple influences that include both Boston and the Beatles. It’s a deep, sensitive song that includes some noteworthy chord changes to boot. “Firefly’s” is marked by a change in tempo and comparatively minimal instrumentation that might work as a single.
“Goodbye Until Tomorrow” is solid and works well enough to stand alone but may be slightly overshadowed by “Hard Nights”. Yet another Boston-like track, this cut has worthwhile chord changes and an interesting contrast between bright verses and a darker chorus. “Find My Way To Heaven” is a song that reflects on love lost, life and mortality as the quality here remains consistent.
“Every Day Of The Week” is an upbeat potentially Beatles-inspired or perhaps more Monkees-like song. “You’re Not The One That Got Away” comes next. It features some nice choices in terms of guitar work and is both easily relatable and honest.
“I Used To Love You, Now I Don’t” another easily understood, nigh universal appeal to anyone who has struggled with love and dating. The BGO power pop push pervades on the carnival cut titled “Like A Merry-Go-Round”. “I’m No Good For You One”, another early fan favorite, has an underlying Brian Wilson feel to it.
“To Be Loved By You” and “No One Ever Told Me” continue the flow of the overall album and carries us to the closing cut “BGO Motel”, the setting of the disc, serves as an apropos album endnote on an honest, heartfelt audio offering of assorted love songs. So check the 79 minute Sticky Love Songs Vol. 1 & 2 by Bubble Gum Orchestra and explore the good, the bad and the ugly of love, lust, and life. You might find yourself playing it “Every Day Of The Week”.
Have a Listen of the Album here! https://bubblegumorchestra.com/sticky-love-songs-vol-1-2-2016