Album Review

Abel Josephson

Helicopters Over Hollywood

Have you ever heard of Abel Josephson? I hadn’t and I felt a bit ignorant until I did a ‘Google’ and got no UK hits on his name. We’re all in the dark with this guy! So, why no UK fame for Abel? I think the answer lies in his press pack where he is described as ‘Southern Rock / Alt Country. Probably not the best way to trouble our airwaves. Luckily, The Southend Years have an open mind and have approached the review in our customary positive manner. Abel’s album is called ‘Helicopters over Hollywood’ and has ten self penned numbers. The sticker on the front highlights three songs which I presume must be crowd pleasers back in California. The album starts off brightly with Always Come Back, pretty standard fare lyrically but good tune and some neat guitar and organ playing. Unfortunately, as the album progresses, the songs seem to get a bit samey. There’s nothing wrong with them but they don’t really inspire. As depicted on the sleeve, Abel is a guitar man and consequently his playing seems to be prominent in the mix. He isn’t bad either, bit of a country rock twang to it which wouldn’t go amiss with all you Eagle fans out there. The title track Helicopters Over Hollywood surprised me a bit because I was looking forward to someone finally penning a song for traffic reporters; however Abel has written a song about a country girl going off the tracks trying to find fame in L.A. Come on Mr J, this theme has been done to death over the years and you haven’t really brought any new meat to the table with this one (good pun considering the text of the song). I do like the title though. Still with me? OK let’s rattle through the rest of the disc. Good Night Rest finds our hero cruising Vineyard Boulevard looking for a parking space. Abel must have been desperate for something to write about, although he does expand and bring in Marco Polo sailing on an Ocean, don’t know if he also had parking problems. Weeping Willow is about Abel cutting to the chase with his song writing. I can cut to the chase also “ bland slow countrified ballad. Next. Top Ten. This one sounds better, slow build up but takes us into a bit of a sing-along. Pretty catchy and Abel has a chance to play a nice little solo. The album finishes off with ‘You Don’t Know’ and to be honest I don’t. I bet our Hero goes down great in the warmth of the West Coast I could picture him at Humphreys Half Moon in San Diego - but in grey old England it doesn’t quite gel. He is a good guitarist and most of the songs are decent enough but I would have liked a spark of originality to go with it. If you look at his website there are some great photos of Abel posing with the stars. I haven’t a clue who they all are but Billy Connelly and Robby Coltrane get on there. Best of all is Timothy Spall, the accompanying caption says ‘You probably would never recognise him on the street Hey Abel people in Glass Houses

Abel Josephson Web Site

Ash 23.10.2005.