Max Highstein, Hotcakes Review
Multi-instrumentalist Max Highstein resides in New Mexico, a land of enchantment and folkloric tales. On his latest album, Hotcakes, Highstein traverses an easy-listening and adult-contemporary rock sound highlighting his saxophone and, this time, employing his vocals on four of the tunes. Hotcakes also features Ed Willet on cello and Mark Clark on drums. Judy Mitchell adds accordion, and guitarist Jeff Pevar lends his guitar on the final tune, “First Day Out.”
“Low Hanging Fruit” kicks off the album with a funky-soulful vibe that eases the listener into the tropical delight. The musicians gel into a zone locking into a hypnotic groove that transports, while Highstein colorizes with his saxophone, organ, and bass. Sounds of the tropics are evoked by drummer and percussionist Mike Clark, while a droning accordion adds to the driving force by Judy Mitchell.
The title track, “Hotcakes,” has a sit-down and have a drink at Cheers kind of vibe. I could easily see this tune as a theme song to a TV sitcom. Equally, “Diner” was also in this vein, though Highstein vocally tackles this one. Highstein approaches his vocals in a 70s soft rock ilk.
“First Day Out” closes out the album with a sunny attitude towards first adventures and the strong fortitude to stick it out. Highstein offers this tune up once again as a vocal selection. More of a singer-songwriter vocal style, his timbre offers a more bucolic quality. Of note, on this track, Ed Willett lays down tasty cello. I also found this tune to have a soundtrack appeal overall.
Hotcakes highlights Highstein’s ability to capture the sunnier side of soft-rock, with an almost 70s vibe similar to the British group 10cc when they captured the airwaves in the mid-70s with “I’m Not In Love.” Highstein might just be bringing back the 70s with a strong inkling. If you like your music with a positive message, Hightstein is the repeat listen.
Connect with Max Highstein: Website |
October 21, 2022