Reviewed by Kevin Curtin, Fri., Nov. 25, 2016
Blue Healer can't help but be the best adult-contempo band in Austin's underground. The trio, anchored by David Beck and Bryan Mammel of aborted Americana darlings Sons of Fathers, formed in daring concept: pop music via distorted upright bass and Reagan-era keyboards. Their smoothness, led by Beck's smoky, lady-killer voice, results in soft rock, synth pop, and chill indie sounds that flow modern radio. As such, Blue Healer's debut unfolds with stormy love metaphor, "Only the Rain," a timeless slow jam readymade for a Phil Collins Grammy. Beck and the gang repeat the formula with the dually hit-worthy "Crystal Chandeliers," but the self-produced full-length proves a multifarious effort, striking a sharp soul crunch reminiscent of Dan Auerbach's Arcs on "Empty Bottles," then breaking into Floyd-ian space rock with "30,000 Ft." Monster bassist, Beck's cornball lyricism ranges from "I want to hear the crash and boom baby, play a fight song, play a fight song!" to the make-out pop come on, "only if she tastes like diamonds." Pay off the program director and get Blue Healer in rotation now.