Album Review: Coke Belda — 4
If Peter Noone was American, his singing voice might be all but indistinguishable from that of Coke Belda. And the music that Herman’s Hermits made isn’t miles away from the chiming, la-la-la of Belda’s original tunes. On his fourth album — cleverly titled 4 – Belda steps away from the tribute approach of his last outing, focusing instead on the chiming ear candy of his own songs.
Belda wears his influences on his sleeve. You may remember Harry Nilsson’s “You Can’t Do That,” a tune in which Nilsson strung together a bunch of Beatles song titles to make an original song; for his trouble, Nilsson was named as “the Beatles’ favorite group.” Well, Belda’s done something similar with “Thank You, Paul,” a McCartney tribute.
But as the album progresses, it’s clear that Coke Belda has more on his mind. The creamy verses of “Another Day” (not the McCartney song) are contrasted with the soaring, rocking choruses. And that kind of contrast displays Belda’s skills as a songwriter and arranger. Those skills are showcased throughout the album. When he turns the volume down – as on “Believe” – he sounds like he’s writing songs left off of Wild Life. But then he rocks out with “Oh Why,” a simmering tune with a catchy synth riff. The soaring harmonies and high-energy midsection make it one of the album’s best tracks. “6×8 Basement” goes old-school and may remind some listeners of John Lennon’s “(Just Like) Starting Over.” 4 is one fine record.
About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.