Al Ross & the Planets - Blue Crystal

by Kevin Wierzbicki

The sublime cut "Crossroads" opens this second album from the London-based Al Ross & the Planets; the cut has the feel of a 70s pop hit and presents a very catchy hook in its chorus, also featuring a funky organ break mid-song. While the band's numerous singers sound smooth as silk when they harmonize, there's a raspy lead vocal on the sprightly pop-rocker "Something Changed My Mind" which also moves to a cool piano groove. "Blue Crystal," "In the Middle of the Night" and "All the Things We Started" with its samba rhythms are all about trying to figure out a love relationship, but all are so blissful that any angst is easily ignored. "Checkin' Out the Vibe" is the album's most buoyant rocker, strutting along to a walking rhythm and a horn-filled, New Orleans-ish blues groove. The quiet "Sweet Memories of You" has a non-lexical vocal break reminiscent of that in Pink Floyd's "The Great Gig in the Sky" and the song is as sweet as its subject matter. Blue Crystal will find lots of new fans for Ross and company, especially among those who like their rock a little on the prog side.

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