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Galactic Champions of Joy
Artist/Band: Todd McHatton
Galactic Champions of Joy is the highly anticipated follow-up to California 'kindie-rock' sensation Todd McHatton's critically-acclaimed Sundays at the Rocket Park, one of Time Out New York Kids Top 10 Albums of 2010.
Presenting an even richer, deeper spin on his whimsical Beatles/Nilsson pop sound, Galactic blends majestic, lo-fi orchestral production with playful, well-constructed pop songs that deliver sonic joy to audiences of all ages.
An unabashed Harry Nilsson fanatic, McHatton skillfully integrates his swooning vocal harmonies and multi-genre approach into nearly everything in this indie pop collection. But it's his seemingly limitless capacity for making simple, fun music that dominates Galactic Champions of Joy.
Opening cut "Tommy Had A Super Towel" may be McHatton's most successful foray yet into the world of commercial pop, boasting a chorus that points directly at Elton John, while maintaining the amusing absurdity of the happy, obsessive, independent singer/songwriter, who has been quietly evolving since 2009's Grass Stained Twilight.
What follows is a typically eclectic batch of material that reflects McHatton's own quirky musical sense.
Tracks like "Say Hello To My Hippo", "Bears Bear Bare Bears", and "For Tea Birds In The Vast Nest" are proof positive that McHatton hasn't completely abandoned his commitment to writing about strange animal behavior.
"Smiling's My Favorite" could very well provide audiences with their first opportunity to perform a waltz at a show-that is, if McHatton could ever be persuaded to do a "show".
"Get Down Dream Up", like many songs on the record, easily transforms from a rocking fist-pumper into something entirely new and unexpected that wouldn't seem out of place on a Ben Folds track or a mid-'70s Carpenters' album.
"Future on the Road" is a Spoon and Stone Temple Pilots mash up.
It's evident that McHatton enjoys his guitar. Bubbling bursts of Brian May and Van Halen-esque guitar solos are sprinkled throughout Galactic. This, along with a Randy Newman slant on songwriting makes for something very unique. It's like Pixar made a rock album - deep, humorous, thoughtful, and fun for the whole family.
Throughout it all, McHatton brings child-like whimsy and emotional resonance together-like an early episode of Sesame Street and a Tom Robbins novel, or a lost Sid & Marty Krofft Show and a fine craft beer.
While McHatton has found most of his success in the emerging "kindie-rock" scene, his graceful, layered, psychedelic pop has been compared to The Beatles, The Flaming Lips, and The Shins.
What People Are Saying About Todd McHatton
"Todd McHatton's dense, psychedelic pop is unlike any kids' music you've ever heard. The closest approximation might be a cross between Magical Mystery Tour-era Beatles and Harry Nilsson."
"This new Todd McHatton (Sundays at the Rocket Park) album is trippy fantastical brilliant and expansive...like lost B-sides to a "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" single...this sounds like the inside of a child's fertile mind."
- Chris Ballew, The Presidents of the United States of America and Caspar Babypants
"What the California native accomplishes with "Sundays at the Rocket Park" (and previously with his outstanding, free Christmas Songs EP) is rather remarkable; an entire full-length kiddie album easily capable of passing for a dense, moody, very hip indie rock CD - the kind of disc Stereogum or Pitchfork might gush over (okay, probably not those snarky bastards at Pitchfork). After the low-key cuteness of the lead track and the adrenaline rush of the second, there is a richness to this album that may require a few spins to fully 'get'. Often, the best things in life don't seem that way at first blush."
- Jeff Bogle, Out With the Kids (OWTK)