Staring into Nothing — Love
(Bandcamp SIN002, 2020, CD / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2020-11-24
Staring into Nothing is a Southern California duo joined by numerous guests, some of whom should be well known to our readers. Steve Rogers (keyboards, lead vocals) and Kurt Barabas (bass, guitar, backing vocals) have been working together for several years, and Love is their second full-length release. We encountered Barabas before during his tenure with the band Under the Sun and in Amaran’s Plight with Nick D’Virgilio. Rogers doesn’t seem to have any past credits, but has been a friend of Barabas for years. For this outing, they’re joined by Mike Keneally (guitar, organ), Greg Bissonette (drums), Trey Gunn (Warr guitar), Jeff Gauthier (violin), and a number of others on horns, percussion, backing vocals, and so on. The songs are relentlessly melodic and catchy, relatively straightforward in presentation, and well arranged. There are no unexpected diversions or progressive flairs, aiming squarely at mainstream sounds, and a bit of a throwback to the 80s. I’m reminded at times of the less progressive albums by Phideaux or Johnny Unicorn. There are occasional Beatles references, and hints of Buckingham-Nicks era Fleetwood Mac. There’s not a bad song in the bunch, though none are exactly great either. It’s quite firmly aiming for the middle of the road, and hits the target solidly. Fans of melodic pop-rock with no rough edges will probably enjoy it more than I do — it’s just too predictable and safe for my taste.
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