STARS FOR THE EYES
A Love of Quality English Pop Music Linked to a Quaint Country Charm
This has been a bit of a challenge for me as I’d never heard of Mark Huff before yesterday, and there was no accompanying Press Release, but the song titles look like he has a similar sense of humour to me and the album cover intrigued me plus on the photo on the back he looks uncannily like RMHQ favourite Pete Molinari.
So……into uncharted territory we go……to musical infinity and beyond?
Hmmm…..fuzzy guitars open proceedings with track #1 Prison Doors and Huff’s enigmatic voice has a slightly worn feel to it on a punchy anti-love song that straddles Brit Pop and Alt. Country in a way that works, bizarrely.
The title track STARS FOR EYES follows and takes us into a dreamy almost Psychedelic Folkie world I first encountered with Marc Bolan and still love drifting back into every now and again; and Huff fits that bill perfectly well with this lovely tune.
Two days to review this album isn’t enough, as Huff writes songs that need to be heard over and over again to get the best from them; with God In Geography being the type of quirky Trans-Atlantic Indie-Pop that fans of Robyn Hitchcock and Barenaked Ladies fans will love, but he follows that with a left-field Alt. Country song Nightingale which has all the hallmarks of Gram or maybe even latter day Byrds to it.
Confused? You won’t be, as Huff’s songwriting and delightful voice will carry you through like a warm Summer breeze.
Now I’m on the second day Mark Huff’s bittersweet and deliberately sad love songs that are tugging at my heartstrings; with the haunting I Know You Don’t Want My Love and on Burning Letters he enters Difford and Tillbrook kitchen sink drama territory, which is always a good thing at RMHQ and comes out with a supper tale alongside some really stinging guitar during the chorus.
There’s even a Leonard Cohen song here, which I didn’t recognise for a while; Almost Like The Blues possibly even sums up where Mark Huff is coming from with his almost unquantifiable songs, just like The Master before him…..let’s just go with singer-songwriter and story teller?
I will come onto who Mark Huff ‘really is’ later; but after listening to this album for a couple of days I sense a love of quality (particularly English?) Pop Music in the songwriting; but quite often there is a pedal-steel in the background giving the harmonies and well smart lyrics a sort of Country charm which shouldn’t work; but does on the two songs that tie for the title of RMHQ ‘Favourite’; Big City Down has a claustrophobic almost rainy urban atmosphere but Albatross is another dark almost psychedelic Folk song that has a rusty hook that drew me in and won’t let me go.
Now I’ve got me head around the music, who is Mark Huff? Originally from LA he relocated to Nashville where he has worked with and opened for Superstars like Peter Frampton, Al Green, Allison Moorer and Mr. Dylan, among a host of others while cementing his reputation in the bars and clubs across America.
RELEASED March 23rd 2018