Gabriele, Michael : Puppet's Palace
Michael Gabriele's sound in A Puppet's Palace is a mix of upbeat, catchy tunes, memorable melodies, and a few hard rockers. If you like a stylistic blend, where the songs don't all sound exactly the same, the ballads aren't sappy and the edgier pieces still musical and not just noise, you'll love Gabriele's style. Ken Barnes of USA Today described this album as 'Diverting and charming,' and the influential blog Powerpopaholic gave it their 'Highly Recommended' rating. While Mike's style is clearly his own (check out 'What I Wouldn't Give,' and 'Second Wind' for pure cuts), you can hear some hints of The Beatles and Radiohead here and there, as well as Foo Fighters and The Red Button in 'Better Do It Right' and 'Imagine What this Girl Could Do,' Counting Crows and REM in 'Hi,' John Lennon in 'Inside,' and Sweet and Badfinger in 'A Candle Burning.' A successful musician for decades, Gabriele has been a fixture on the Northeast club circuit, now playing with a band celebrating it's 25th anniversary, a rarity in today's come and go groups. A Puppet's Palace is a solo effort, showcasing not only his songwriting but his incredible musical talents. Filled with passion, even the songs that were inspired by some kind of emotional struggle hold a positive aura. There is no anger here; hope peeks out in expected places. 'Second Wind' starts with the unexpected that always seems to hit us at the wrong time ('So you've been hit by stormy weather/The dark clouds rolling in'), moves to a message of learning ('I've seen my share of pain/But with every loss it seems I found there's something I had gained') and ends with a message of perseverance ('Now the clouds are passing/Do you see that ray of light?). If you had always wondered what some songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney (after Abbey Road) would sound like, this album might give you an idea. Or you can appreciate it for what it is -- songs for today, built upon a legacy. It's music that sounds like, well, what music is supposed to sound like.