Review: Mixed Emotions of the 21st Century by Ted Solovicos

Back in the 1980s, Ted Solovicos rocked out in the band Smuggler. Jump forward to the new millennium, and the artist formerly known as Grateful Ted performed in a duo called Britannica, nailing down British rock, the Moody Blues being a favorite, among many others.   Which brings us to this disc overflowing with original compositions – resplendent in a cover that looks like artist Hieronymus Bosch streamlining Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band succinct pop tunes “No Tomorrows” and “Together” – with its naughty backing vocals lifted from John Lennon’s “Girl,”  harken back to the days of Denny Laine’s Moody Blues, the U.K. Kaleidoscope with Eddy Pumer (not to be confused with the American Kaleidoscope) and so many more.

“Sorrow” is not the famous David Bowie cover of Rick Derringer’s The McCoys’ 45, it’s subdued anger at the world condition, the war in Iraq / Afghanistan and other atrocities.  Solovicos packs the compact disc with a plethora of ideas ranging from happiness to tragedy, an introspective diary of his personal experiences along with perspectives on the present past and future.

“Love Dreams,” track seven, follows in the vein of the exquisite “No Tomorrows” and “Together,” light pop songs which show this artist at his best.  “I Got My Mind On You” adds some Spanish influence, the theme of love and fun going back – stylistically – to the Tokens / Jay and the Americans.

“Why” combines the heavy keyboards with Ted’s authoritative acoustic guitar and intriguing vocal work.    Nineteen songs released at one time with so much music in the jungle of the wild frontier of the internet is obviously a musical statement that takes more than one sitting to absorb.  21st Century (with its three bonus tracks from the 20th Century, additional material a hallmark of Solovicos’ releases) is a diary put to tape – “Give Me Another Night” with its exploding electric guitars indicative of each element that comprises this collection of thoughts that are most personal.

Mastered by Butterscott bassist and former Smuggler pal Joel Simches, it is well-crafted stuff from a veteran of the New England music scene.  A cover of the Kinks “20th Century Man” would have been the frosting on the cake…maybe for the next disc.  (Joe Viglione)