I thought summarizing this record would be that easy when I ran through it the first time, but it turns out I was sadly mistaken. What Michael Laine Hildebrandt has done here is pretty darn revolutionary, considering this is an indie release. I love to support the independent musician. I live for it, actually. But, in most cases, you have to look past inferior sound and production blunders to focus your energy on the writing style and musicianship that lies underneath. You have to imagine how the songs might sound if they had a larger budget and someone with some knowledge behind the sound board. I've come across many artists that had great songs to share, but had very limited production knowledge or funding to make their songs come alive. Hildebrandt is one of the great exceptions in the indie world. There's no imagining with this one. These songs come across with full sound and color. There's a reason this release is called Out Of This World - it's because it really is.
Michael Laine Hildebrandt and his Bubble Gum Orchestra present a complete exhibition of wonderful pop songs that are beautifully produced to enhance all of the nuances that make this music so appealing. The orchestral strings. The vocal harmonies. The small percussion elements. All of these things are presented in grand fashion here. Hildebrandt makes no effort to hide his overwhelming ELO influence, either. In fact, he makes it abundantly clear he is the band's biggest fan by naming a couple of the band's albums in "Night In Shangri-La," one of the first singles from Out Of This World. Between "Night In Shangri-La," the blue cello spaceship artwork that strongly resembles ELO's Out Of The Blue cover, and the excellent string elements that run through the entire album, you could almost consider this an ELO tribute album. But, Hildebrandt makes it abundantly clear that the 17 songs on Out Of This World are his own.
"Bubble Gum Orchestra’s debut album, Out Of This World was written and recorded out of my love of music and also my very obvious personal connection to ELO’s Out Of The Blue, nothing more, nothing less. It’s not a tribute or a cover album, but a whole new original recording in the style of ELO; just the style. These were my true intentions when I composed this album. BGO was born solely out of my love of semi-orchestrated pop-rock in which I grew up loving and not my intent to recreate ELO songs. If any first time listeners are expecting this to just be a different version of ELO, they will be disappointed. Only Mr. Lynne can deliver a true ELO album. BGO’s album artwork pays homage in the most sincerest form to the band Boston and of course, ELO, my two favorite bands in the world." As promised, Hildebrandt doesn't only rehash the ELO sound, he puts his own spin on these songs as well.
The thing that makes this record unique is Hildebrandt's simple vocal approach. His voice has a sharp, modern sound that's backed by a softer, more "classic" harmony vocal track. This unique blend of styles and sound really works well for the songs that were written. I've said many times that there are great players and singers out there, but when they overplay or over-sing, or don't play or sing the right parts for their particular songs, it really doesn't matter how great they are. It's all about the songs. If you don't play or sing "inside" of the song, the song doesn't work and you've failed. Hildebrandt fits inside these songs and lends himself to them perfectly.
These days it can be very difficult to find a quality pop band. I'm not talking about Green Day. I'm talking about the classic pop sound. The traditional pop sound that made bands like The Beatles and ELO famous. There's not too many bands doing this sort of thing anymore, so I get excited when I come across one that can bring that sound to life. Bubble Gum Orchestra has resurrected that classic pop sound, and it's Out Of This World.
To hear tracks, read reviews and interviews, or find out more about Bubble Gum Orchestra, you can visit the official website at: www.bubblegumorchestra.com