Any fan of Tony LaRocco has seen the superb range of his musical skills and talents. Whilst it’s easy to see the various styles and tones in Tony’s vocals, it is brilliantly clear in the “Anatomy” by the band Pale Blue Dot, that LaRocca can merge all of his influences and come up to the occasion with great songs. Pale Blue Dot is a band based in Charlottesville, VA. It was founded by musician Tony LaRocco as a way to bring fellow musicians together to explore the possibilities presented by his songwriting. Pop, alternative, progressive rock, folk and bebop jazz are all sources of inspiration for the band’s ever evolving sound. Ongoing education and open communication are core tenets that push Pale Blue Dot to innovate. Their latest album “Anatomy” is available now.
The musicians, production team, mastering team, the studio, mixing team; they all complement each other in this album. And when each one works as a team, the result is what you will find out by listening to this album. But what makes “Anatomy” such a great album is Pale Blue Dot and Tony LaRocco knowing what he’s playing, knowing what message he wants to convey, and it’s from the heart. And as they say, any words spoken from heart will touch the heart, no matter what they are. Add to that the textural and tonal depth of LaRocco’s soaring vocals, and the equation becomes irresistible.
“Anatomy” consists of 9 tracks in total, and the album gets better by each song. The songwriting is heartfelt, beautiful and revealing, while the album also has some great guitar solos; they’re vivid, precise, fiery and serene, all at the same time. Opening track “I Know” sets the luscious cinemascope tone that weaves it way throughout the album. As I mentioned previously, it’s hard to find a stand out song as each track is as strong as the one before, if not better, whether it be the breezy bounce of “Only Love”, the crunching rock of “Stained Glass Window” or the mid-tempo “Dust and Light”.
All throughout Tony LaRocco vocal delivery is aptly suited to the musical motif. He has no fear of heading towards full-throated soaring vocals or falsettos. He simply uses his textured voice to create another instrument adding an extra layer of complexity to each song. The other layers are brought by bassist Drew Pompano and Johnny Stubbelfield on drums, who drive the momentum, and the keyboards of Butch Taylor working his way around the guitars courtesy of Sam Wilson, Peter Balogh and Will Thomas Reed. Tucker Rogers also makes sure that the Dobro doesn’t get lost in the mix.
The fireworks start on “Yesterday’s News”, which begins as a slow-burner, only to reveal itself a high-burning flame. LaRocco’s vocals are simply massive here. As it is on the spacious echoing of “Canyons”, and the jangling guitar motifs and rolling percussion of “Suitcase”. Then there is “The Harlot And A Gambler” which combines layered clean guitars, drums, bass and keyboards with a heartfelt melody to create a standout track, one of many that appear on the record.
Continuing the emotional journey is “Lo and Behold”, a song about relationships and crossroads. Haunting choruses add to this track’s power, making it yet another strong track built upon a very relatable subject. It is easy to get lost in this album with its engaging and gripping performances. A beautifully crafted collection of songs, “Anatomy” is full of taste and passion.
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