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Mark McDowell and Friends — Breakthrough
(Fruits de Mer Friends of the Fish 36, 2020, CD / LP / DL)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2020-08-17

Breakthrough Cover art

It truly is a beautiful day when you listen to Breakthrough, the new album by Mark McDowell and Friends. Golden sun flakes dapple the ground as you gambol through fields of sun-blossomed flowers. Breakthrough straddles the decades, combining elements of The Moody Blues On the Threshold of a Dream era prog, jangling guitars, raga rock, and neo-psych. Plus there is a bit of space tock on “Starstreamer” as it speeds through the cosmos, leaving a trail of pixie dust behind. There is not a weak moment on the disc, with the highpoints being “People Like Us,” “Breakthrough,” “Starstreamer,” and “Wedding Song.” I was thrown off a bit by “De Facto (Ode to Arthur Lee),” expecting an homage to Love, but nothing in this song remotely communicates Love to me. Instead Mark and his friends perform an excellent psych rock jam with a trippy organ accompaniment. This album is perfect for blissful relaxation and basking in the sunshine of a bygone afternoon. We all need something like this in today’s uncertain world.

Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases

Related artist(s): Mark McDowell

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