Goddamn, this is just so good. Period. Never mind who the members of this band are – well, okay, you should know; you need to know. Actor/raconteur Bill Mumy (yes, he of “Lost In Space”, Barnes & Barnes and “you’re a bad man and I’m going to wish you into the cornfield” fame); Vicki Peterson (of The Bangles) and John Cowsill (yes, he of the beloved family band and Ms. Peterson’s husband) and the late Rick Rosas, who was a highly-sought firepower bass player (working with the likes of Neil Young, Joe Walsh and other greats) make up this fine combo known as Action Skulls, born of a moment playing together at a party. And that one instance begat this dynamite, eleven song collection, Angels Hear. Mr. Rosas sadly passed away in late 2014 and the songs already in the can lingered until recently, when the album was finished with new material – and here it is. And what an album. Seriously.
The quasi-psychedelic power-pop of “Mainstream” could easily have been in league with the Paisley Underground, but has an uptempo abandon that pushes it a little harder and is an instantly impressive way to open the album. And from this track onward, you get majestic harmonies throughout, so if you’re into heavenly vocals, there’s plenty for you to smile about. The “Hand Jive” beat that carries “In The Future” kicks in a joyful, tap-your-foot way – how can it not, with its positive vibe? “The Luckiest Man Alive” is crisp, riff-filled with some wonderfully obtuse arrangements on the bridges that work in the overall straightforward pop structure; “Feed My Hungry Heart” is a (restrained) rockabilly masterpiece with everyone taking turns on lead vocals and is definitely one of the album’s highlights and “Standing On The Mountain” is tight, taut and bounces along with lots of 7th chords, which I love.
It’s all the best elements of rock & roll, power pop, California radio gold and everything in one package. You have to have the right chemistry and clearly, the members of Action Skulls have that – along with the mastery of songwriting. So do yourself a favor – go out and seek this record. It’s easily one of this year’s best and that’s no stretch of the truth. You’ll know what I’m talking about the moment you put it on your stereo.
Angels Hear is currently available