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Rockwell Church!
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January 01 2001
by Andrew Ellis

I’m not exactly sure why it is, but there’s something about duos that seems to make them synonymous with great songs. Apart from one or two notable exceptions (Milli Vanilli included), it’s almost predetermined that music from a duo will be worth more than a cursory spin. With a musical style that evokes a combination of the folk elements of classic pairing Simon and Garfunkel, and the pop sensibilities of other twin groups (the Nelson brothers and Evan and Jaron), Rockwell Church is yet more proof of the old maxim ‘Two heads are better than one’.

Joti Rockwell and Nathan Church Hubbard (see how they came up with the name now?) play an absorbing blend of acoustic pop-rock and with song titles including ‘The Never Ending Battle Between My Ego and My Id’, you know the words ‘intelligently written’ come as a pre-requisite here. But don’t let that put you off, as you don’t need a lifetime’s study of Freud to figure out the lush melodies and harmonies that feature all over ‘Superego’.

Only 24, the guys have been writing songs and making music together since the age of six and the fruits of those endeavors are evident right from the first seconds of opener ‘Chandelier’. A great hook line, impeccable production and lyrical and musical depth set the standards for the rest of the album. Next up, ‘Lonely’ is another melodic treat showcasing Nathan’s excellent vocals as well as some soulful Hammond work and the impressive driving rhythms of drummer Brian Jones.

It’s a strong start by anyone’s standards, and gets even better with the most commercially-minded tune on the album, ‘You’re So Cool’ which further demonstrates Nathan’s songwriting mettle and Joti’s guitar virtuosity. Opening with a simple acoustic riff, the song builds into a clever, tongue in cheek look at the concept of acclaim and celebrity: "I know you know this/We got this crazy little rule/And I bet by now you noticed/You’re So Cool". Clever stuff indeed.

After the funky ‘Steady Ready Strong’, ‘The Never Ending battle Between My Ego and My Id’ is a pleasant journey into Simon and Garfunkel territory whilst album closer ‘Baying With The Wolves’ leans heavily in the direction of some of Mary-Chapin Carpenter’s most introspective, delicate moments. Squeezed in between these are two more of the album’s standouts, in the shape of the apologetic rocker ‘I Know You Forget Me Everyday’ and the reflective yearning of the acoustic based ‘Child In Me’; both of which add something extra to an already diverse and highly listenable collection of songs.

By the time you’ve listened to ‘Talk so Heavy’ and ‘I See Alice’, it’s clear how well Rockwell Church compliment each other and how effectively they work together to produce quality, well-written songs. ‘Superego’ could be the album which makes the break for the promising duo, as their musicianship, melody and sincerity are not in question. Speaking of which, where did I put that Milli Vanilli CD, I need a coaster.

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