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Days of Plenty

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Album Review

New York's George Usher Group opens Days of Plenty with the Big Star-sounding "Smoke That Kiss," with Usher playing the role of Alex Chilton. The song's quirky stops and starts and relentless jangly guitar get the disc off to a rollicking start. Using a rich array of instruments — including mellotron, organ, French horn, violin, and cello — the group assembled 12 varied pop songs on their sophomore disc. "Channel 104" features some of the warmest pop hooks on the disc, offering up the liveliest harmonies and guitars of the album. Guitarist Doug Larcey and bassist Dennis Ambrose assist Usher on vocals. Drummer John Bellon rounds out the main quartet featured on the disc. The disc's pace slows down on the title track, a fresh, easy listening triumph that sounds wonderfully effortless. As the disc continues, many of the songs sound familiar, as the group utilizes some time-tested rock/pop conventions, all the while making them their own. Despite the undeniable pop influences throughout the record, the band never uses them as a crutch, instead embracing them and adding their own signature sound to the mix, like on the steady toe-tapper "Crowded Mind" and the relaxed poetry of "Our World." Throughout the peaks and valleys of the album, Usher adds a soft, personal touch to the songs, never hiding behind a wall of sound, instead taking enough musical risks to keep it all interesting. "Baby, Where'd You Go?" and "Unfinished Prayer" offer up Usher's most sincere and heartfelt lyrics of the disc, as well as some of the simplest and most satisfying instrumentation. "Long Long Never" concludes the disc with an extended jangle rock roller-coaster ride. Recorded in New York City and New Jersey and mixed by Mitch Easter, Parasol Records released Days of Plenty in 2001.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Art-pop singer/songwriter George Usher was born in Cleveland, where his early demo recordings gained local radio airplay while he was still in his teens. He had already cut enough demo material to fill out a good 30 albums before he relocated to New York in 1977, soon forming the power-pop band the Decoys; by the middle of the following decade, Usher was a member of the cowpunk outfit Beat Rodeo, appearing on their 1986 LP Home in the Heart of the Beat. A satellite member of the Bongos, during the...
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Days of Plenty, George Usher
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