Harold Steinitz and Dave Thomas, Wheels Up! (Independent)

The title and cover of this duo’s latest album suggests some ethereal experience—but maybe a boat would work better than a plane, since most of these tunes would make great yacht rock: mellow, soulful, satisfying, and deceptively simple on the surface. Break this baker’s dozen of tunes down though, and there’s a jukebox full of musical styles coexisting here, deftly wrapped around each other like pigs in a blanket. 

It’s a little stupefying to plot just how openly and brazenly they tie their influences together. The title track alone sounds like prime Todd Rundgren with Santana solos and Chicago’s horn section. “Invisible” is “Walk, Don’t Run” filtered through “Driver’s Seat.” “Days to Remember” has the feel of John Lennon taking on “Homeward Bound.” “End of the Rope” comes off like Alice Cooper (the band) covering “Harlem Nocturne.” And it just goes on like that. In fact, if you factor the lyrics into the oldies mixtape, you get Dad-rock: lectures, tributes to rock and roll, complaining about aging, the whole thing. (There’s even a risqué Dad joke in there, which I am not at liberty to discuss here.)