When Esther Williams' Inside of Me was first released in 1981, there was a lot of talk about how disco had died. To hear some people tell it, disco was so out of fashion in 1981 that even Donna Summer was trying to be new wave. But truth be told, disco was quite plentiful in 1981. Disco never died; it evolved and diversified, and new terms emerged in the ‘'80s (dance-pop, deep house, Hi-NRG). Williams enjoyed some exposure in dance clubs in 1981, especially with her seductive hit "I'll Be Your Pleasure" (which opens this album).
Chicago-based Post Animal are a band of brothers. Though they formed in 2014 and just began touring in 2017, their affinity for slick riffs, pop hooks, and psychedelic tendencies join them in a bond much tighter than their years suggest. Initially formed when childhood friends, bassist Dalton Allison and guitarist Matt Williams, met keyboardist and guitarist Jake Hirshland, the band’s sound began to take shape when the three enlisted some more pals from both the Chicago music scene and through their time working at local burger joints. Rounding out the band’s lineup, Post Animal is completed by drummer Wesley Toledo and guitarists Javi Reyes and Joe Keery.
All 31 songs the Merseybeats ever recorded manage to fit on this single-CD compilation. That includes the A-sides and B-sides of all eight of their 1963-1965 singles, all of the tracks from their sole album that weren't on 45s, the songs from their 1964 On Stage EP (none of which made it onto any other format at the time), and even German versions of "I Think of You" and "It's Love That Really Counts." That doesn't leave much to complain about. Nonetheless, it has to be said that if you have their Edsel best-of, Beat & Ballads, which concentrates on their best singles, you're not missing much, even if it's only half the length. Of the cuts here that aren't on Beat & Ballads, few are memorable, largely encompassing some mediocre group-penned B-sides and drab covers, some of inappropriately pop-oriented tunes…
Alan Broadbent has long been appreciated as a fine pianist and arranger, talents he combines on this studio effort with bassist Brian Bromberg and drummer Kendall Kay, along with background color by the Tokyo Strings. "Autumn Variations" is a superb workout of the chord changes to the standard "Autumn Leaves." The pianist's lyrical setting of the longing ballad "Bess, Oh Where's My Bess" and the sparse treatment of "Last Night When We Were Young" are simply masterful. Broadbent's scoring of notable jazz compositions proves to be equally effective. He sets up a very deliberate tempo for the ballad "Lover Man," alternating the piano and the strings in the foreground as the rhythm section plays sparingly. But his best effort may be his lush arrangement of the modal masterpiece "Blue in Green."