The Loose Salute

Tuned to Love

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The Loose Salute's debut album Tuned to Love is a low-key gem that combines country-rock, indie pop, the sunny pop of California in the '60s and '70s and Laurel Canyon songcraft in a fashion not too terribly different from Mojave 3's recent output. No surprise there since the band is helmed by Mojave 3's drummer Ian McCutcheon. He proves himself a fine songwriter and vocalist throughout, taking about one-third of the vocals and sounding especially good on the whispery ballads like "The Mutineer" and "Ballad of the Dumb Angel." The rest of the vocals are handled equally well by Lisa Billson, who has a big voice that she has total control over. She knocks off melancholy tunes like "Photographs and Tickets" or "Why'd We Fight?" with finesse and downhome soul, and charges through the rockers ("From Head to Sandy Toes") with a light and breezy touch. You know she could be doing time as a backup singer in Nashville; McCutcheon is lucky to have her in his band. Speaking of the band, the crew manning the instruments turns in some fine work too. Pete Greenwood's guitar playing is spot on and restrained, Alan Forrester's keyboard work is understated, and Charlotte King's backing harmonies add an extra layer of sugar to the already lip-smacking sweetness. The arrangements are loose and exude warmth and sunshine, making Tuned to Love a very fine summertime record -- even the sad songs would sound good while lying on a beach. The Loose Salute aren't out to change lives or make a big impression, they'll just make you feel good and that's not bad.

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