This is a review of "Something In The Sky" recorded by Accolade. The review was written by Sam Saunders in 2002.
There's a strong voice and some nice open tunes here. The simple chord changes are fluently done and a Radio 2 audience beckons. Accolade's biographical notes mention Smokie. But they could list some other 70s acts too. Doobie Brothers, Eagles, Steely Dan, and Christopher Cross all come to mind. Accolade are too young to have heard any of those and their notes draw comparisons with bands that I can't hear in their music at all: Oasis, Metallica, Black Crowes (well alright maybe Black Crowes) Jools Holland and Sting. But I'm not going to argue. They play a well established traditional form and it sounds sweet enough when its played (as here) without self-consciousness or affectation.
The demo is proof enough that the band can do something emotionally nostalgic and genuinely listenable with the right producer. Each of the songs touches a different side of what we might as well call Adult Oriented Rock. An eight bar blues thing, a piano song, a guitar solo vehicle and a quirky lifestory song about a dreamer who could have been a spaceman. It's middle American in a Mom's apple pie kind of way.
It was all recorded at home on a PC with enough peripherals to start a small war. And despite some oddities in the mix it shows off the general approach very well. As seems to be the norm these days, there are serious weaknesses in some of the lyrics. What I'm not sure about is where Accolade go from here. It's confident without being flashy, but is it distinctive and marketable? I'm not sure.