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More salad than stew

Songs for Feeling Strong
Songs for Feeling Strong
By Holiday and the Adventure Pop Collective

Self-released: 2007

Buy it now

This review first appeared in the August 30, 2007 issue of the North County Times.

Fifteen years after the band's founding, Holiday and the Adventure Pop Collective has yet to get stuck in a rut – at least to judge from their latest CD, "Songs for Feeling Strong." Hard to get stuck in a rut when you're so obviously interest in so many different styles of music. From country to alt rock, Celtic to power pop, the three-piece combo (jointly based out of its members' hometowns of Encinitas, Big Sur and the Bay Area) doesn't blend these styles so much as switch from one to the other mid-song, and then repeat the process.

The resultant sound is more salad than stew, as the different (and often divergent) stylistic threads exist side by jowel with one another.

Only adding to the audio tumult is the odd collection of instruments the trio plays. Tuba, violin and trumpet simply aren't the standard in rock music. There are guitars, keyboards and drums to ground things, but what really ties all these seemingly fractious sounds together are the intriguing songs the band brings to its latest release. From the first, McCartneyesque song, "Wide Open," to the closing ballad, "Alone in a Boat," the band has strung together a baker's dozen musical excursions, each of which has a lovely melody to balance all the experimentation and exploration.

A typical moment simply doesn't exist on this album, but a one-two punch of covers of the old country nugget "Time Changes Everything" and the Beach Boys' "Surfer Girl" is at least representative of the listening experiences contained here. "Time Changes Everything" is played in a sort of rockabilly swing rhythm, with a half-sung lead vocal atop tuba and trumpet, while "Surfer Girl" is done up as an old Al Jolsen vaudeville number – again with the tuba laying down the rhythm (and longtime Beach Boy Al Jardine on harmony vocals).

It's the sort of thing that's either going to appeal to you or isn't, but you'll at least have the comfort of knowing immediately.