Neil Leyton ...From the Brighter Side of the Midnight Sun

This one had me playing air guitar within the first minute as it launched into action with the riffed-out bluesy rock’n’roll and the "Rocks Off” energy the Stones used to open their landmark Exile on Main St. — an ass-kick of a way to get things going. Leyton’s glam rock past as front-man for Toronto’s the Conscience Pilate injects an extra shot of attitude but he knows when to tone it down. This disc kept surprising me; one minute the Jagger-esque "Angie”-like ballad "To Jay-17,” the next the bouncy "Newspaper Memories,” but keeping the whole album together is a raunchy 1970’s Rolling Stones brilliance and a sparkling clarity of songwriting genius. I was hitting repeat on many of the songs before I’d even heard the whole CD. There’s something about Leyton’s voice that strikes a chord where it counts and the music can either stir you up and rock you off or take the edge off and mellow you out. As much as the rock elements keep the album pumping, Leyton has been around long enough as a singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer/record label owner to know how to craft 18 songs so as to keep you listening and that is by mixing things up a bit. He knows where to throw in a slow number, or something fun and Brit-pop inspired. Go get this record now. (Fading Ways)