After some 15 years honing his craft, Dave O'Grady releases his debut album as Seafoam Green, produced by Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes. Topanga Mansion is a mixture of old fashioned rock and roll, and some hauntingly beautiful ballads with melodies that wander to some stunning places. Partially written in the hills of Topanga, and recorded in Santa Monica, the album features some great musicians such as Robinson himself, and Rami Jaffee of the Foo Fighters.
Kicking off with the otherworldly wonderment of Celtic Wanderings, it's a low key but achingly beautiful start to the album. There are some whisky soaked classic rock numbers aplenty too. Down The River is a powerful number with shades of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Lonely Lou is a perfect festival rock track, to the extent that you can feel the sun, smell the stale beer on the grass, and see the crowd jumping up and down in time to the beat, arms waving in the air.
While the rock numbers are a lot of fun, it's in the quieter moments that Topanga Mansion really shines. Of these the standout is the closing track No Wasted Words, which is reminiscent of Pink Floyd. This may be high praise indeed, but in this case it's well deserved. It is an epic track starting with a simple piano melody before the guitar kicks in, along with O'Grady best vocal performance. It's a song of simple brilliance, and that chorus will stay with you long after the album is finished.
There are other tracks that come close to challenging the closing song. Petty Tyrants is particularly good, with its glorious harmonies accompanied perfectly by the piano which almost steals the whole song. Home and Royal Call are both full of understated moments of joy, with the latter sounding a little more country / folk.
This is a fabulous debut, with glorious flashes of brilliance throughout. With its mixture of crowd pleasing rock and gentle ballads, there's something here for everyone, and I suspect they will all have a different favourite.
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