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Four

Bleu

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Album Review

Being a power pop artist doesn’t have much commercial currency these days, but that hasn’t stopped Bleu from releasing a string of solid, hook-laden albums. Four is his first collection of new material in years — A Watched Pot, although released in 2009, was recorded half-a-decade earlier — and it takes its cues from 1970s AM radio pop, American trad rock, and the same singer/songwriter tradition championed by contemporary popsters like Butch Walker. With help from a rotating cast of musicians (including the Section Quartet and former L.E.O. bandmate Roger Joseph Manning, Jr.), Bleu cycles through pop tunes like he’s competing in the Tour de France, unveiling hook after hook with nary a gap in energy. Even the ballads, from the falsetto-laden "How Blue" to the Van Morrison-styled “In Love with My Lover," have enough sugared melody to maintain the pace. The album is irreverent, too, featuring one of Bleu's best vocal performances during “When the S**t Hits the Fan” (sample lyric: “You know, there’s a putrid wind about to blow”) and making room for everything from funk horns to girl group gospel harmonies on the zippy “Dead in the Mornin’.” In some alternate universe, Bleu would be topping the charts alongside Rooney, Butch Walker, and other torchbearers of classic pop/rock. In this world, though, he’s relegated to power pop cult royalty, and Four extends his reign a little bit longer.

Customer Reviews

Let me be the first to say...

this album is FANTASTIC! No hyperbole here; Bleu has been making great music for quite a few years both on his own, and also written songs for other artists. Every track here is strong, but my personal favorite is "B.O.S.T.O.N."; it's got a huge hook that'll stick in your head like glue! If you liked last year's "A Watched Pot", you'll love this. Get it NOW!

Bleu's best solo effort

Started listening to this again recently and am reminded how good of an album it is. Everything is Fine is a standout. You can definitely hear Roger Joseph Manning's input.

Biography

Born: July 18, 1975

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Before becoming one of the biggest names in Boston's power-pop scene, Bleu (born William James McAuley III) made his mark on the local scene with Bing Bang Holidang, a Christmas-themed charity album that highlighted guest appearences by fellow Bostonians like Dicky Barrett (Mighty Mighty Bosstones) and Kay Hanley (Letters to Cleo). In 2000, he teamed up with engineer/producer Ducky Carlisle for his solo debut, Headroom, which was released later that year. After winning the WBCN Rock 'n' Roll Rumble,...
Full Bio
Four, Bleu
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