Boston, “Life Love & Hope” (Frontiers)
As time goes by, it’s clearer that Brad Delp was one of rock’s greatest pure singers. His death in 2007 created a huge void for the band Boston. Founder/producer Tom Scholz does his best to compensate with multiple replacement singers on Boston’s first album in 11 years, but it’s the three carryover songs with Delp that provide the most buzz.
Two are either remixed or remade from the last disc, “Corporate America,” including “Someone” and “Didn’t Mean to Fall in Love,” showcasing some silky R&B stylings. Delp and Kimberley Dahme share lead vocals on the stately polemic “Sail Away,” about how the Bush White House botched the Hurricane Katrina cleanup.
Most other songs are familiar Boston love-song fare, with Scholz’s layered guitars and arena-rock riffs aligned behind singers Tommy DeCarlo, David Victor, Dahme and Scholz himself on the erratic “Love Got Away.” This Boston does not have mass appeal.
Steve Morse, Boston Globe
The Velvet Underground, “White Light/White Heat: 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition” (Polydor/Universal)
Perhaps this album can’t be the surprise it was when it arrived in 1968. The second LP by the Velvet Underground has been canonized, analyzed, annotated, emulated and contextualized as a cornerstone of punk and experimental rock. Generations of listeners have been aware of the insistent, relentless drone of its extended songs, the outbursts of scrabbling dissonance and earsplitting distortion from Lou Reed’s lead guitar, the equally insistent presence of John Cale’s electric viola and keyboards, the deadpan tales of drugs and sex and death in Reed’s lyrics and the pithy drive, amid the cacophony, of Sterling Morrison’s rhythm guitar and Maureen Tucker’s steadfast drums.
The album is still incendiary. This reissue was in the works before Reed’s death Oct. 27. The original album — just six songs — is presented in stereo and mono versions with a handful of other studio tracks. A third disc documents an April 30, 1967, show at a Manhattan club, recorded a month after the band released its first album; most of it has not appeared before.
Time and respect have not tamed the original “White Light/White Heat.” It holds the joyful amphetamine jitters of the title song, the deadpan gallows humor of the flinty jam and short-story reading of “The Gift,” the seething viola drone of “Lady Godiva’s Operation,” the delicacy, foreboding and anticipation of “Here She Comes Now” and the frenetic, mind-splitting guitar finale of “I Heard Her Call My Name.” Then there’s the 17-minute “Sister Ray,” a flippant chronicle of heroin, debauchery and casual murder amid a hypnotic meltdown of a jam.