There's no greater evidence of the Forward Motion Records' stylistic reach than the fact that Arboles Libres, a young Miami bilingual rock band, and 60-something Andy Pratt, a former hit-maker back in the early '70s, have been given near-simultaneous release dates.
The story of Forward Motion Records and founder Fernando Perdomo is fully detailed in this week's print edition of New Times. In the meantime however, here's a special glimpse at the two latest examples of Forward Motion's forward progress, each a reflection of Perdomo's ambitious intents.
Arboles Libres -- Self-Titled
There's no telling why this band chose to call itself Arboles Libres ("Free Trees"), but it does convey a sense that they're freely breaking down barriers on this five song set. Singing in both Spanish and English, the group proffers a sound that freely mixes a feeling of folk finesse -- as reflected on the song "Aurora" -- with the edgier, upbeat approach of "Yellow Man" and "Comiensos (The Beginning)." Boasting a knowing attitude that occasionally blurs the line between melody and mayhem, an Arboles Libres song always blossoms with the band's consistently compelling trademark sound. It's not only a worthy addition to the Forward Motion catalogue, but one that may eventually help propel Latino rock into the sometimes reluctant American mainstream.
Andy Pratt -- Andy Pratt Loves You
Andy Pratt found his greatest glory back in the early '70s when his song "Avenging Andy" briefly became a staple on album rock radio. A frantic tale of a misbegotten encounter, it was later covered by Roger Daltrey, subsequently boosting Pratt's profile in the process. Consequently, the ironically titled Andy Pratt Loves You could be considered a comeback collection of sorts. A stunning set of songs that basks in proficient pop extravagance, it finds its subject in fine voice, still able to hit his upper register and convey the sprawling melodies that enabled him to initially make his mark. Producer Fernando Perdomo lends a sympathetic sound to grand entries like "It's Not the End of the World," "Take It All Away," and "How Are You?," allowing Pratt's simple turn of a phrase to become a grand statement buoyed by some regal arrangements. Indeed, Andy Pratt Loves You is an old-school album, one that deserves to take Pratt back to the top of the pop pantheon.
-- Lee Zimmerman