Steve Angel was somewhat of an acquired taste for me. This work
is a very refreshing blend of light alt rock/jazz/blues. "Leave
Me Standin'" is just plain sweet. It is a well produced record with
plenty of soulful sounds and very smoothly produced and performed.
It proves a well-rounded package that never leaves the listener
bored. There is no monotony here. The bluesy guitar, horns and Steve's
vocals immediately bring some of Eric Clapton's mellower work to
mind, "Another Day" is a great example for this comparison. Steve
Angel is the type of artist you'd like to see perform live in a
quiet little pub. There is an element of Van Morrison in many of
the tracks too. Check this one out. A pleasant surprise.
The Music Korner (05.15.02)
On his solo debut Hollywood, Steve Angel has created a diverse collection
that although rooted in melodic pop draws together a wide array
of influences into an extremely refreshing disc. As you work your
way through the 11 cuts here elements of everything from folk rock,
glam, 60's rock, rockabilly and even new wave show themselves at
one point or another merging with infectious melodies and distinctive
vocals that bring to mind Lloyd Cole and Lou Reed. Highlights include
"Electric Car" (in a perfect world this would be a breezy summer
hit), "Round My World", "Second Wind" and "The Things We Do For
Extreme Magazine (03.04.02)
There's a certain charm to STEVE ANGEL's brand of alt. rock. It may not be
groundbreaking, but there's a comfort in the familiarity that flows through
hollywood that makes Angel harder to dismiss than his adult contemporaries.
Kicking off with the hook-driven "'Round My World," the disc takes its listener
through an eleven-song journey of love and the human condition, guided by vocals
reminiscent of the amiable inflections of the Barenaked Ladies' Ed Robertson and a
soft melodic lilt that recalls the slower side of the Counting Crows. But just when
it seems like Angel's sound is slipping into the abyss, he shows another side of his
talent with the bombastically catchy "Wonderland" and the perky, almost Dave Matthews
esque delivery of "Casanova." The disc may feel like an old shoe, but it's still one you
can wear out for a night of dancing.
Indie Music (09.04.01)
What I like most about pop songwriter Steve Angel is
that he's a playful lyricist. Lines kept jumping out at me as I
played his debut CD "Hollywood." Lines like "She's a lounge doll
baby, soda-pop-rocket-trip" who lives in a "sweet velvet planet"
(from "Hollywood Venus"). And I love the romance of telling someone,
"You're a song that lives forever" (from "Never Let You Down").
I'm always drawn to the artists who craft their lyrics as well as
their music, avoiding clichés. This is a great pop album, and like
most indie artists, Angel likes to wander around the genre map.
Several of these tracks have a country feel to them, especially
"'Round My World." "Second Wind" is cool rockabilly. We get some
great sax work from Frank Pincente and Marcus Ali that adds a jazzy
feel to tracks like "Leave Me Standin'." My favorite track for its
creativity is "Electric Car." This one is completely different from
the other songs, but it still belongs on this CD. Angel gets gritty
here. His electronically altered lead vocal contrasts with the warm
harmony of the chorus. This is a 60s-style rock song with a modern,
off-center alt rock feel. It works. (Those background harmonies
are provided by producer Brent Bodrug, who has also worked with
Alanis Morissette, and vocalist Kay Sargeant.) The music is often
free-spirited and fun, even when he's singing about loneliness and
isolation. When he's singing about happiness, the songs turn into
celebrations. "Wonderland" is a perfect example. It has a carnival
atmosphere. "Spirits are in delight, and we go dancing through the
night." The upbeat feeling prevails in every song. Despite the sad
topic, I had to laugh when I heard "Second Wind." Only Angel could
make an evening of a staggering around drunk sound upbeat. The songs
are all tied together by Angel's conversational style of singing
- half-singing, half-talking, earnestly trying to express himself.
He chooses his words as carefully as his music. It's paid off. This
is a promising debut.
Cosmik Debris Magazine (09.01.01)
Canadian tunesmith Steve Angel's solo debut gathers a wide range of influences, from Lou Reed's New York grit to Nick Gilder's LA glam and beyond,
to create an appealing collection of pop gems. Over the course of eleven tracks, he experiments with sounds and styles, but never buries the underlying
pop structure of his music. It's like a recreation of a classic top 40 playlist, with the advantage of contemporary production values and grown-up intellect.
Angel's not only a talented musician and songwriter, but he's savvy enough to have enlisted the assistance of Brent Bodrug's indie production house,
B-Group Music. Along with top notch design and marketing, that also means the album benefits from Bodrug's considerable studio skills, arranging talents
and keyboard wizardry. It's Angel's album, though, and its strength ultimately rests on Angel's songs. In this case, that's a good thing. It's an auspicious
debut, and if Steve Angel keeps working at the indie level for long, it will only be because he wants to.
Splendid Magazine (08.27.01)
If you had to go out with a rock and roll guy, Steve Angel is the one your mom would vote for. He's the good-natured singer-songwriter type: sensitive,
non-threatening, probably patient and polite and nice to grandma. He writes pretty love songs ("Never Let You Down", "Leave Me Standin'"), mildly inspirational
rockers ("Second Wind") and happy, jaunty little pop numbers ("Wonderland"). Yeah, that seems pretty generic and predictable, and mostly it is, but Angel has
a swell voice, and his manner is just so friendly and accessible that despite some pretty marginal songs, I still find myself enjoying this disc. The cheese
factor is surprisingly low, the production is fine and Angel's nice guy spirit and sincerity are strangely palatable!
The Global Muse (06.27.01)
Steve Angel crafts old-fashioned pop tunes. Although the writing is rather slight in many of the songs, there are enough winners here (like "'Round My World"
and "Casanova") to make "Hollywood," his debut CD, an enjoyable ride throughout. Stylistic variety - a touch of ska in "Wonderland," a dollop of acoustic soul
in "Another Day," etc. - is a big part of the pleasure to be had in this 11-song album. And unlike in many debuts, the tightly arranged songs don't overstay
their welcome. The ballad "I Could Cry" stands out vocally, and Angel sings with brisk energy in "The Things We Do for Money," a fun 60s-R&B-influenced track.
The musicians are top-notch. Extra-special props to the horn arrangements and to bass guitarist Frank Medved. Angel and producer Brent Bodrug applied a lot of
obvious skill (and loving care) to the nifty arrangements. Good stuff.
Out of Canada comes Steve Angel with his debut album
Hollywood, a release that would rather indicate a fair history than
a debut & it's little surprise that Steve isn't exactly new to the
music scene, already playing with a number of bands. This album
is the end result of his decision to go into his own solo career
& to that end, it's a remarkable collection of songs running along
the fringes of folk pop, though that's a rather hazy description
at best, with the music itself opening up much more than that might
indicate. Probably the biggest highlight here is Steve's voice,
which suits the songs incredibly well & it's tracks like "Leave
Me Standin'", "I Could Cry" & "Wonderland" which really set the
sound off here. There's apparently a whole stack of new material,
so we can only guess where Steve's next work will take him.
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