It's not often that a 15-year old album knocks me off my feet, but Cotton Mather has done it with a two-CD reissue of a power-pop classic that has everything you'd want: great lyrics, gorgeous vocals and musicianship, tight arrangements and enough risk-taking to keep you looking around the corner.
"Kontiki: Deluxe Edition" is a marvelous treat for anyone who loves Beatlesque pop with a hint of the Byrds, Dylan and other great acts of the 1960s. I hate terms like Beatlesque, but in a nutshell, it's The Beatles whose influence is ever present. It's not just the echoes of John Lennon's voice but the craft in creating songs that are eminently hummable, varied and just good fun.
The second bonus disc features a lot of demos, outtakes and alternate versions, and while it's not as polished and fulfilling as "Kontiki," it's a worthy journey into the layers and baby steps that ultimately led to one of my favorite albums in recent years.
Cotton Mather went belly-up years ago, but recently reformed for a few shows, and just released a one-off single called "I'll Be Gone" on SoundCloud. Here's hoping they dig a little deeper and regroup for an extended stay. In the meantime, I'll savor "Kontiki's" charms.