Todd Underwood - Flying Blue - Stereo Stickman

Todd Underwood Flying Blue


“Control is just an illusion, it’s nothing but mind pollution.”

The return of indie rock pro Todd Underwood this year brings a full-length album exploding into action. Flying Blue kicks off with a seductive soul-rock groove and raspy, energetic vocals, for the conceptually insightful and provocative Love Over Fear.

Loaded with solos and strong basslines, everything from the live crash of the drums to the vocal harmonies and hooks promises an anthemic rock project of timeless warmth and optimism. The title Flying Blue no doubt represents its own unique story, but there’s colour and contentment in its implication, and this appears to be boldly celebrated throughout these 13 original songs.

As we shift into If You Only Knew, our protagonist seems to be fully embracing his time on the mic. The soundscape is brought to life with a full horn section and choir-like support, and meanwhile Todd puts in a fun and uplifting performance to raise that melodic appeal to bright and brilliant heights.

The big-band energy continues throughout a Santana-like yet conceptually unorthodox Can I Borrow Your Brain. Then we get a more mellow rhythm and vibe, for the nineties warp and sway of Communicate. Always there’s a multilayered and colourful style to the music, despite each track’s variation, and always there’s some level of inspiration and heartfelt positivity to the writing (alongside an occasional dash of poignant realism).

Panic To Party is quite beautiful, softer vocally and overall in fact, something of a nostalgic, cinematic pop-rock hug, with a breathy quality that’s hypnotic amidst the harmonised warmth of the hook. Then Festina Lente gets a little personal and gritty – a heavier rock track with a smooth chorus to contrast the passion of self-reflection, lyrics like ‘Hurry Slowly’ are again simple yet powerful.

For Call On Me, suddenly we’re in early 2000’s rock territory, an emotional and poetic core elevated by power chords and another harmonised beauty of a hook. Perhaps a personal favourite for its production and vocal vulnerability. Then the joyful bounce of One Day at a Time shines light again and presents a sense of appreciating the moment and making sure to hold onto the life in your years.

The project’s title-track brings back those distorted elements for a harder impact as we explore the true intentions of Flying Blue, while the fingerpicking of Higher and Higher briefly misleads us before reaching an even heavier rock peak. Here Todd contrasts softness and weight intermittently throughout, making this one of the most creatively memorable tracks of the album.

A hint of pop-punk seems to shine for The Way To Suffering, another self-reflective deep-dive that again seeks to connect for its humanity and honest emotion. Then the drums get a final moment to sparkle amidst the simplistic scenery and story of an acoustic-guitar-blessed Show Up and Shut Up.

“My soul understands the way to quit when it’s getting hard.”

For the final track of Flying Blue, Todd slides back away from the heavier rock influence towards that big-bad jazz and funk appeal of earlier. They’re Gone keeps things energetic and celebratory, a reminder of the project’s optimism, and a musically impressive ode to intimacy and relationship euphoria.

Always one to go against the grain, renowned for his thoughts on eclecticism and his refusal to adhere to industry expectations, Todd Underwood remains true to his artistic roots for Flying Blue. As ever, we’re gifted a professional and passionate collection of catchy pop-rock and alternative songs, with unmistakable vocals and thoughtful lyrics connecting the dots along the way.

Download Flying Blue via Apple. Find Todd Underwood on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & YouTube.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *