Van Duren – Open Secret

Open Secret

Van Duren was an exponent of “power pop” way back in the mid 1970s. He did some recording in Memphis, but things didn’t get far. But here he reaffirms his love of the style and shows you’re never too old to make it.

My first reaction to this stemmed from the great songwriting. I love when rockers have a gift for melody, and Duren certainly has it. I defy you to listen to “All These Lovely Things” and not have the melody stay with you. Guitars play a huge part in the songs on this disc, with “jangly” being the operative adjective, and cuts like “All These Lovely Things” and “Valentine” are exemplary. “Cryin’ Town” has a country feel with arpeggios flying off chord changes. “Oh, Kay” not only has a lovable title, but exudes an affinity for Joe Walsh guitar sounds.

Duren plays numerous instruments, including guitar. On some cuts he plays everything but drums, which are handled by Rob Crockett. Duren’s voice tips more than his cap to Paul McCartney, and fits the songs wonderfully. And while his vocals recall McCartney, his own personality remains. It’s easy to love this record.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s Aug. ’06 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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