This neo-psychedelic duo from Highland Park, New Jersey is the husband-and-wife duo of Maki and Richard Brenner; they signed to Marty Scott’s forward-thinking Jem Records and are about to unleash their debut offering, Euphoria Love – 12 songs which capture the fun and free-for-all nature of early rock & roll (especially in the mid-to-late ’60’s) and the beauty of power pop. They draw on influeneces as diverse as The Beatles, The Kinks, David Bowie, The Ramones, ’80’s synth-pop and the far more tasteful side of ’90’s “alternative” (think Matthew Sweet or Teenage Fanclub) and you can detect so many of these elements in the songs that there’s a guarantee of something for everyone here. It also very much worth noting that this album was produced by (fellow Jem artist) Grip Weed commander Kurt Reil, who knows how to get that “just right” sound when he’s in the studio, so added up, it makes for a winning collaboration (which is inclusive of Mr. Reil’s appearance on the songs, along with another Jem-teammate/New Jersey mainstay, Peter Horvath of The Anderson Council).
Opening with the title track, a poppy-sweet, upbeat keyboard and guitar driven piece, you know this is going to satisfy your appetite immediately. Catchy in every possible way, this (to me) sets the tone and pace for the other eleven tracks (and I love the less-is-more guitar solos – notes punctuated in the right place and fitting the song’s body. “Things That You Do” has that glorious garage feel; fast-paced and ultra-’60’s, especially with the backing harmonies; “Overflowing Magic”, sung by Maki Brenner, is one of those “moments” – a little slower and emotionally charged – and the break with the “celestial” background is heartbreakingly lovely and “Leaving For New York City” is a very early ’60’s-inspired bit of rollicking fun. “Dreaming In Blue” is permeated with an instantly likeable guitar/organ combination and again, has energy, groove (yes, you can dance to this album!) and is a lot of fun, which is often overlooked or ignored; “After All” is a duet between the Brenners and lyrically, is a universal theme that anyone with a heart will automatically embrace.
A debut album always has a lot riding on it, especially since (in this day and age) there are so many bands out there competing for attention in an audience and sales. But by virtue of the quality of these songs and what the Brenners have put into the details, I think Brenyama are headed in the right direction and will quickly find their audiences growing. This is definitely one you “must check out”.
Euphoria Love will be released on Friday, April 21st, 2017