Here at RUST Magazine we love surprises. Especially fresh and intense pop music from that shows up in our mailbox all the way from the UK. Although this British band is actually half American (via Kris), this dynamic duo of Kris and Joe Hughes have compiled a collection of super-produced hits for this, their fourth full-length album. The Birth of Swagger takes cues from some specific moments in Amerciana music and maximizes it within a particular space. The concept, the songwriting, the performances and the production are all excellent, and The Birth of Swagger showcases artists with experience, skills and self-knowledge to spare.
Cicero Buck reminds us a lot of SISRY’s Rich and Melanie, also a powerhouse pop-rock duo, who talked to us recently about the state of pop music and commented on their Beatles-inspired approach to songwriting. Similarly, Cicero Buck delivers classic songs built on solid ideas, showing love and appreciation for moments past on the FM radio dial. Diversity is a key element here, with songs bringing flavors of Cheap Trick, ELO and Phil Spector into new and interesting places. It takes more than talent to prepare songs of such excellence, it takes hard work and a greater concept of what these periods in music history left as their legacies, and Kris and Joe have taken the time to do it right, having worked on this album for several years.
If you’ve been disenchanted with pop music lately, it’s because you’re not listening to awesome, talented bands like Cicero Buck. All the producers tricks in the world are worthless unless there is authentic talent at work, and in the case of Cicero Buck, their talent is enabled here and accelerated into a collection of songs that will surely stand the test of time. The ideas are great, the production is great, and each song has a unique and memorable identity – that’s a real accomplishment – and The Birth of Swagger keeps it going from start to finish.
So be sure to check out Cicero Buck. The Birth of Swagger gets our full endorsement and it will be available in February.