Brent Cash How Will I Know If I'm Awake

It’s always a welcome surprise when a new artist appears out of nowhere with a debut album that could be described as a "classic,” and that is very much the case with Brent Cash. The Athens, GA native has managed to create a good, old-fashioned record in the vein of his many obvious influences, such as the Association, Sergio Mendes and Curt Boetttcher. How Will I Know If I’m Awake is a return to simpler times, in that this is simply a collection of glorious pop songs and nothing else. What aren’t quite so simple are the complex Bacharach-ian arrangements and layers of vocal harmonies that help this rise above so many other power pop records. Add to that some great songs and this is a wonderful album. It does have more than its fair share of ’60s pop clichés, such as declaring a love for "sunny California” and even calling one track "Good Morning Sunshine,” but they simply serve to add to the authenticity. Cash has managed to create an album that sounds like it was recorded almost four decades ago, and one that could have stood the test of time if it had been. This is a hugely impressive debut. (Marina)