You can’t always trust initial impressions. A shallow hearing of Todd Omohundro’s ten song album The Future is Calling will make some believe the Pennsylvania based singer/songwriter is asking us to climb into his wayback machine and pretend its sometime between 1975 and 1990. Thinking and believing that may even be enough for some to love this release. Omohundro’s aims are much different, however.
Delving into the first cut on this release makes it apparent. “The Future is Calling” opens the album and has a near perfect pop attack married with deft instrumental performances. The appealing textural qualities of this song, polished to a high shine by chemistry and top notch production, He delivers the lyrical message with an appropriate amount of gravitas and enough charisma to hold your attention.
“When You Feel True Love” is much more solidly in a commercial vein and contains exceptional instrumental performances. The guitar playing is outstanding throughout, deeply felt and intelligently phrased, but makes a particular impact during the intro. Omohundro understands the value of using supporting vocals to underline his own performance and uses their contributions in all the right places. It is refreshing that he never feels a need to “dumb down” his lyrics even if the clear intent of the song is to reach the widest possible audience. He’s performing material he believes in and bringing audiences along with him.
He turns in a rockier direction with the third track “Taste of Honey”. His pop and jazz inclinations remain intact despite the change in direction and the guitar never sounds uncomfortable in this piece. You hear echoes, if you listen, of the music that formed him throughout this album and former Chicago guitarist Terry Kath, among the first to spark his obsession into a full-on blaze, would likely enjoy the guitar contributions here and elsewhere.
Piano is one of the central instruments heard during this release and “Drowning in Content” is a prime example. It drives the song’s melody and juxtaposes well with Omohundro’s complementary vocal melody. It’s another example, as well, of the level of seriousness the songwriter brings to this album without ever failing to entertain his listeners. “In Your Eyes” is a bright and ebullient track that, like the rest of The Future is Calling, doesn’t overstay its welcome. It likewise illustrates again the assortment of voices Omohundro brings to the table for these songs. The elasticity of his voice is impressive.
“Just Fly” has a fleet-footed step and its light touch makes it a good choice for ending the release. Once again, whatever his message from one song to the next, Todd Omohundro makes it a point to build involving and lively musical structures around his words. The lyrics are never an afterthought for him like they are for some listeners. The slashing guitar chords streaking across this track hook you in from the beginning and it has an athletic pace. It’s our final reminder that if the album title is true and the future beckons, these songs answer its call.
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