The Blood Rush Hour simply knocked us all out with 2014’s And Then… The Unthinkable Happened, with its incredible mixture of ’70’s influenced power pop, rock, prog-pop and symphonic pop – melding all the best elements of Queen, Yes, E.L.O./The Move, Big Star, Badfinger and throwing in some early ’80’s (think R.E.M. when they were new and XTC).  We’ve had two-plus years to love that album and I’m happy to say they’re back with this brand new offering, Who Folds First (a clever title and stellar album cover).

No less than sixteen songs; recorded and mixed over two continents and countries (the U.S.A./North America and Wales/Europe) and once again, driven primarily by chief Rusher Robert DeStefano (with one co-write).  This was no easy task and yet, when you listen, it sounds effortless.  “No More Excuses” is a fine way way to start the proceedings, with a harmonized vocals/fingersnap motif into what sounds like a triple guitar attack in a delightful ’70’s way and carried by an upbeat melody (which immediately made me think of “Mr. Blue Sky”) but the middle 8 goes into a very sci-fi sounding moment, leading to a Brian May-like (albeit economical) solo – a stunning first track.  “He Left The Party Too Soon” is another trademark Rush Hour piece – multiple movements; finely detailed arrangements, in this case adding a soulful/funky groove to the mix; “Danny” has a nice, crisp ROCK riff and gentle arrangements in very Rundgren-esque manner and is instantly memorable/catchy and “Try Another Stop”, at least to my ear, has a modern prog feel to it; I felt some shades of Yes on “No More Excuses” but here, the prog influence is there – and I don’t care what anyone says – that’s a damned good thing, along with (again) a funky rhythm.

“6, 4, 5 and Sometimes 1” is the obvious “hit single” – radio-ready, radio-friendly and I could have heard this coming out of our car’s AM radio circa summer ’76 – which is why I love this band; their sound makes me warmly nostalgic.  “God’s Wall” is a breakneck piece with a very subtle synthesizer sequence (in a spot-on ’80’s style) and vocals that remind me of Squeeze at their best and twanging guitars; “I’m The One” is classic, singalong classic rock & roll – another in-your-head-the-minute-you-hear-it and the epic grandeur of “In Between Time” is the album’s magnum opus – a near operatic opening and a fantastic, layered body (listen to the backing vocals – it will give you chills).  Once again, The Blood Rush Hour have proved themselves to be an outfit that delivers on all fronts – lyrically, structurally, melodically, musicianship and vocal skills.  The aforementioned songs, along with the rest prove it over and over.

If you haven’t caught up with The Blood Rush Hour, I can honestly say you are truly missing out on something special.  Remember, we’re in a time where some of the most God awful drek is dumped out onto an unsuspecting musical society and frighteningly lapped up because people don’t know better.  But with this band, you will know what “infinitely better” means and you will be glad that they’re out there, because they’re obviously on a quest – and you should want to join them on this wonderful, expansive musical road.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Who Folds First is currently available

http://www.nicolarecords.co.uk/the-blood-rush-hour/