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Cliff Hillis / Scot Sax | Be Seeing You / Scot Sax (both Not Lame)
The latest brace of releases from Not Lame, arguably the best power pop label around, again manage to deliver the goods. Both solo projects, it's doubtful that either name will cause any immediate ripples of recognition, but both Cliff Hillis and Scot Sax have made their mark, at least critically, as members of key power pop outfits in the past. Cliff Hillis was previously in the hotly tipped Starbelly and is a current member of the John Faye Powertrip whereas Scot Sax was the leader of Wanderlust, whose 'Prize' album was one of the best power pop releases of the mid 90s. Hillis probably ploughs the straighter furrow, in that 'Be Seeing You' is stylistically less of a departure from his previous recordings. There's nothing at all wrong with that though and Hillis' reliable knack for strong melodies, powerful performances and keenly focussed vocals ensure a memorable listening experience. As a result, 'Be Seeing You' is a very promising debut, with several standout tracks worthy of particular recommendation like the brash, brass-backed Sheila Said, the sweetly reflective Before And After and the carefree summer pop of All Of Your Sunshine. It's quality stuff and it's probable that we'll be seeing (and hearing) more of Cliff Hillis in the future. Scot Sax on the other hand has diversified quite noticeably from the more textured studio polish of 'Prize' era Wanderlust. From the 70s glam rock vibe of Thinking 'Bout You via the gentler acoustic pop of I Keep Running to the slick yet irresistible 3rd Degree Blues, Sax enthusiastically employs a wide variety of styles within the pop genre which never fail to engage the listener. Wanderlust or not, Scot Sax certainly hasn't stopped yet and this journey is a fresh start that's well worth joining him for.

Geraint Jones
October 2001