Maidenhead "Dear Raquel"
Four Cats/Radionic Records FC 1116-2
The driving force behind Maidenhead is vocalist/guitarist Gary Stein, who is also the main composer
of the group. Stein began composing songs for the "Dear Raquel" record in 1997, and the songs are a culmination of upbeat, feel good rock n' roll, power pop tunes with great hooks, melody, and harmonies! The sound is strongly based around the guitar and can be powerful as well as melodic. Songwriting is where Stein, who is bent on perfection, focuses his energy. In his own words he says, "I think the key ingredient to a record is the songwriting. If you don't have great songs, you will never make a great record."
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Queen, The Beatles, Cheap Trick, Tommy Shaw (Styx), and Tommy Keene are Stein's biggest musical influences. Several of the songs on "Dear Raquel" (of which Gary plays the guitars and layers a lot of the vocals himself) are reminiscent of his influences.
|Track List: First Kiss, I Can't Walk Away, Dear Raquel, Another Lonely Girl, Easier, Dream About You, Imaginary Friend, Sentimental Trio, Isn't That Enough, Sweet Little Innocent You, Running Back Again|
|*||Because Gary Stein and his colleagues have managed to create an excellent collection of short (11 tracks in 35 minutes) and extremely catchy and efficient pop songs; the kind of brilliantly simple melodies that get stuck in your head the first time you hear them.|
|-Rolf Hansson, Revolver Internet Magazine (Sweden) September 9, 2002|
|*||Few rock bands can say that their music is sweet, and this is certainly the case with locals Maidenhead. Their album Dear Raquel come across as a pleasant, memorable, and exciting mix of Big Star and Lookout! Records-era Green Day (when that band itself wrote more unrequited love songs than teen angst anthems). Despite the Green Day comparison, let me make it perfectly clear that, despite the energy they exert, Maidenhead are not a 'pop-punk' band along the lines of the sickos in Blink 182, Sum 41, and other similarly named outfits. Rather, I see them as descendants of power-pop bands of yore such as the Raspberries, dB's, and even Cheap Trick with an added dose of youthful innocence. All 11 of the songs, from "First Kiss" to 'Dream About You' to the title track are about girls, the girls you always dreamed about taking to the prom but could never get the nerve to speak to. Indeed, the sentiments are more along the lines of 'I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend' than 'Girls, Girls, Girls'.|
-Jeremy J. Deibel, Offbeat Magazine August 2002