REVIEW: Brian Cottrill — Megaphone Inside My Head (LP)
Brian Cottrill’s third release — Megaphone Inside My Head, to sum up mildly, is a return to the straight-forward power pop rock of his first release, after an acoustic adventure in between the two. And not only does it get back on track to the electric stuff it is a well-written, arranged and produced record with even more energy and sonic values. The vocals were pretty much done in one take and it adds a freshness to the polished music that extends life to the songs. The influences are all felt and the traditional rock ‘n roll spirit does the rest on what is an enjoyable collection of tunes with an 80s rock vibe.
The music of Cottrill is not necessarily trapped in the past, it is more of a rock sound from as far back as rockabilly but with an 80s spark in the tradition of artists like Tom Petty and bands of those much wilder times. From the guitar and vocals to the keys and rums it is a familiar sound with a modern touch. “Gonna Love You” opens with a scratchy needle effect to set the next track up, which almost sounds like it’s going to go into something gothic, but instead you get a pure power pop song of colossal proportion on “Spin That Record.”
After a song like that I was on board for the duration without taking any breaks between the cuts, and it proceeded to take me way back to when everything was developing into what it is today. “Teenage Kids” is full of the goods, it is an undeniably awesome track, reminiscent of only the best pure rock. “You Can’t Stop Me” also follows in the same fashion, giving its biggest nod to The Cars, with some talk box guitar and a dance rhythm that just doesn’t quit.
“Take It or Leave It” has a lot of attitude and edge, with the right energy to knock the pandemic blues off your shoulder, especially if you like sociopolitical lyrics with the ultimatum factor. Of course, that leads into a song called “Boyfriend,” with a cosmic intro leading into one of more pop-oriented tracks. The drums really do cook in this song and you cannot skip it for that reason alone, and it would make for a good single choice. Cottrill also gets sassy on “Don’t Tell Me What To Do” with its answer back to braggers with what they think are bigger and better toys.
“What’s Her Name” fights for the most air-time with me because it plays and the most energetic and consistent pace, and I love the keyboard work and how it leads me through the song. This is musically and vocally a one hundred percent great power pop combo. And speaking of keyboards, more of that on “Ice Cream Angel Baby” with some rough guitar edges makes for another interesting radio-ready cut. The guitar and keyboard mingle well together, and both compliment the spot-on vocal harmonies. “If Tomorrow Never Comes” helps this wonderful album go out in style with a soothing heartfelt ballad.