Ted Sablay’s name may be familiar–he is a touring musician for The Killers. When 2020’s lockdowns derailed that group’s plans for a world tour, Sablay took the opportunity to create his own album. At home in Las Vegas, he wrote, sang, played and recorded everything on the ten-cut album You’ll Be Back Here Soon. Everything except drums, that is: Joe Montague cut those in remote sessions.
You’ll Be Back Here Soon is everything a rock record should be: well-constructed songs, accessible melodies, shifting textures and tones. Some parts are challenging, some parts just plain fun. Sablay’s production is detailed, but done with a light, just-right touch. Shakers, tambourines and keyboard lines highlight and support important parts without detracting from the song. And of course the guitar work is great, as we’d expect.
The rocker “Admit It Now” kicks things off right, with guitars, bass, drums, piano and even some horn lines. From this straight-ahead rock start, Sablay morphs the style smoothly over the rest of the album side, first towards the poppier, Wallflowers-eque title track. “Let Me In” is more atmospheric, featuring more keyboards and bridging us to the fun and catchy “Ways of Love.” “Ways of Love” draws from ‘80s-era pop at its finest, recalling a Steve Winwood (or Laura Braningan) dance-club track, complete with a chorus that delivers a fantastic payoff.
Sablay cites Keith Richards as an influence, and the rocker “Love is Strong,” up next, while not the same song as the Voodoo Lounge cut of the same name, features a brawny bass line that could have been played by Keith Richards himself. The bluesy vocals–both lead and backing–on the chorus were terrific, as the song caps a coherent first side.
The second side of the album is a little mellower, kicking off with the smooth mid-tempo pop of “I Only Care About You.” The melody is engaging, the smooth stacked vocals delightful, and the bridge is solid. The arrangement deftly builds into the coda, leaving us to contemplate a nice bit of songwriting, professionally executed, as we float away on the long fadeout. Next, “Just Out Of Reach” is strummy, tambourine-soaked Americana, with its R.E.M.-meets-Tom Petty feel locked down by a piano groove. Sablay’s guitar-solo sound was very cool, and the surprise middle breakdown section was a treat.
The easy, strummy pop of “We Don’t Talk Anymore” yields to the radio-ready “Fall Out Of Love.” “Fall Out Of Love” features soaring vocals and a striking juxtaposition of melancholy lyrics and harmonies with a pulsing, grooving backing track. Sablay’s guitar solo here may be the best on the album. Finally, don’t overlook “All That I Say,” the closing piano ballad. It’s a sweet end to the disc.
Some good things did result from the pandemic lockdown and You’ll Be Back Here Soon is one of them. Go stream it now, before a major label locks it down. Better yet, buy the autographed LP–that could be a collector’s item.
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