The one thing you can always expect from Rob and Tony is ... the unexpected. So when I first heard the title of this new release I went straight to the source (Rob) who immediately got round to explaining:
"The title of the album was inspired by a uniquely British way of giving directions. The first time we were advised to go 'to the top of the road, then straight round the square' it was a bit of a head-scratcher. It's a seemingly contradictory phrase which we feel fits the eclectic nature of our music."
Eclectic indeed. This collection is unlike anything anybody else is doing in the world of instrumental groove. It is so uniquely Four80East and so exclusive in its originality it just makes me proud to be Canadian (like the boys).
"Around The Corner" is a spacey, funky groovefest mildly reminiscent of Hall and Oates' unmistakable vibe on "I Can't Go For That." Get ready to get your pinball on with "All The Marbles" (yes, I said pinball and you'll just have to listen). And then there's bossa brilliance on "Ba Ba Brazil" (the first single) bringing a spicy South American sensibility to the mix.
The big surprise for me was "Slinky Joe". When I first listened (on my phone) I truly believed this track dug in with some delightfully dirty sax. Turns out it is harmonica (obvious over a good speaker) and brilliantly played by Steve Marriner. And "The Outlaw" is one of my faves - totally Clint Eastwood meets Four80East - how much more eclectic can it get?
Straight Round truly does live up to its name. Just when you think it's one thing it becomes something else. And every step of the way its diverse and and multifarious individuality keeps us riveted. The boys have done it again. Long in a league of their own, I would expect nothing less from Tony and Rob.
Vickie van Dyke