Wes Hollywood is a beautiful conundrum. He is at once a modern craftsman and a retro stylist, a purveyor of vintage rock songcraft whose stylish leather boots are planted firmly in the 21st century. His new record is Fantasy Arcade, and it's the best thing he's ever done.
Mr. Hollywood has been a staple in independent music for more than a decade, first with The Wes Hollywood Show and then with a couple of well-received platters as tenniscourts. The name has changed, but the sound has remained a constant - two parts delirious Kinks melodicism mixed with one part Cheap Trick whipcrack, a splash of harmony and a bracing dash of fashion. This potent brew has never sounded better than it does on Fantasy Arcade. This album is everything that's great about Wes Hollywood distilled to its essence - 11 perfect pop confections that will have you bobbing your head and singing along by the second chorus. There are rock songs for the teddy boys and ballads for the weepers, each one like a favorite 45 on the jukebox you've spent your life looking for.
The maestro has taken his vintage fetishism one step farther - Fantasy Arcade is available in both stereo and mono versions. While downloaders can have their choice, those lucky saps who get their hands on the limited-edition vinyl will be treated to a DOUBLE GATEFOLD LP, one with each mix, so they can let their ears decide which is better. Lucky dogs.
So don't wait! Do your HiFi a favor and pick up a copy of Fantasy Arcade today!
It won't make you any cooler. You'll just feel cooler.
He’s brought back a shot of excitement at a time when gloom and depression had soured the Pop Scene. But sheer exuberance is not enough to survive under the critical glance directed at today’s rock practitioners.
Fortunately, Mr. Hollywood has developed a talent for writing, composing and arranging. He has produced a program of sustained interest—mixing hit appeal with solid musical ideas. Lights must be turned off, and volume controls set to maximum to absorb this properly! ‘Watch your eardrums,’ an engineer yelled at a hearing at Chicago’s famed Engine Studios, one sweltering day in September. Visiting elderly men and small children, touring the studio, were warned to evacuate during playback…but they stayed in the control room to hear WES HOLLYWOOD roar into an explosion of musical adjectives. Listen to the aural thunder as Wes and his band hurtle into an odyssey of sound and emotion!
The men and children survived and my ears were unscathed, but a final warning:
FANTASY ARCADE is loaded and aimed at YOU!”
-John Butler Train
Wes Hollywood: vocals, guitar, synth
Pete Javier: guitar, backing vocals
Spencer Matern: bass, backing vocals
Tom Shover: drums, backing vocals
Brian Leach: piano, organ
Stephen Wright: trumpet
Produced by Wes Hollywood
Engineered by Neil Strauch
Executive Producer: Brian Leach
Mono LP mixed by Neil Strauch,
Engine Music Studios, Chicago, IL
Stereo LP mixed by Brian Leach,
Joyride Recording Studio, Chicago, IL
Mastered by Bob Weston,
Chicago Mastering Services, Chicago, IL
Designed by Wes Hollywood and Spencer Matern
Cover Photography by Maureen Vana
© 2012 Frace the Music (ASCAP)