Harmony guitar parts and beautiful layered melodies are popping out of the speakers in my Volkswagen and I sadly cannot take my hands off the wheel to air drum for even a second. That is, until I get to a stoplight and the person in the car next to me looks at me look I’m having a fit.
Dude, it’s the chorus to Michael Rault’s new song “I’ll Be There” from his new album “It’s a New Day Tonight” and I can’t help myself. I haven’t heard a better slice of beautifully rendered 70s pop in ages.
“I’ll Be There” opens with a swirling guitar riff until the drums come boundlessly crashing in. it was made to sound live. But it’s tight. If you told me it was recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis in 1973 my only response would be, “Well of course it was.” (It was actually recorded at the Daptone House of Soul in Brooklyn.)
Rault has a great vocal range, exploding through high notes ascending upward effortlessly. It’s not just a vocal, it’s a satisfying texture that feels like a blanket, split left to right. Underneath what is undeniably Michael Rault’s vision is McCartney, Big Star, The Raspberries, Badfinger.
And then there is the guitar parts, meticulously crafted, harmonic, perfect. The mix of 12 and 6-string acoustic is brilliantly realized. And kudos to the rhythm section – they’re the perfect pocket on a pair of tight 70s bell-bottoms. And they can be sneakily funky. (Hey, it was recorded at a place called the House of Soul so what do you expect?)
This could be the song – and the album of the summer.
[UPDATE: We interviewed Michael Rault]
Michael Rault plays The Cooperage in Milwaukee June 15.
Photo courtesy of Michael Rault.