Gary Reynolds Volume One Deluxe Reviewed by The Shrevest

Posted on Posted in Gary Reynolds, Music Reviews

Gary Reynolds presents quite an interesting listen in his second solo record. His voice harkens reminders of Ed Roland (Collective Soul), Ian Webber (The Tender Idols, The Idyllists), Ian McCulloch (Echo and the Bunnymen), and Elliott Smith. Yes, throw some singing from those four into a blender, and it’s likely to come out as Gary Reynolds. The music on Volume One is a nice, smooth blend of college and indie rock with some pop rock tossed in to keep things catchy.

There’s really not a bad song on the record, but some songs are better than others for one reason or another. Some of the vocal performances leave a little to be desired (“Paula My Dear”), but even the weaker performances are made up for with some fantastic music compositions. On the other side of the coin, “Who Do You Love” shows that Gary has an impressive vocal range – the man can definitely sing. Each song has something to offer the listener, and fans of multiple genres should be happy here.

The atmosphere and feeling on the record make it feel like it came from the UK in the late 70s, but it sounds fresh. It serves as a tribute to the musical heritage of some fantastic bands and artists – think Velvet Underground’s piano/organ sounds, Bowie’s structure or lack thereof, with some fantastic guitar work thrown in. “Paralyzed” has some awesome guitar tones and is probably the best song on the record.

Lyrically, the songs are all pretty strong. Every artist normally has some line in a song that will make me cringe a little, but through a couple of listens I’ve yet to find anything cringe-worthy here. Gary is a pretty good songwriter and it is a feature point of the record.

I like to recommend a perfect setting for albums – this one is good for a casual hangout, sitting around with some beer and whiskey playing a round of cards with some friends. The only mistake might be the cover of “I Think I Love You” – his originals are good enough to not need this cover, and it feels wildly out of place amongst his other songs.

The bonus disc of this album comes on a CD fashioned after a vinyl record. It’s a nice touch that adds some more character to the album.

Standout tracks: “She’s the One”, “Lay It Down on Me”, “Paralyzed”, “Who Do You Love”

TheShrevest Official UnScholars Gary Reynolds “Volume One Deluxe Edition” Score: B. I really like this record, but the unnecessary cover brings it down a notch. “Paralyzed” is one of my favorite tracks of 2013 so far.

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Transient Songs “Foreign Rooms” Review by TheShrevest

Posted on Posted in Music Reviews, Transient Songs

Early Radiohead + Velvet Underground = Transient Songs “Foreign Rooms”. That’s a compliment. “Foreign Rooms”, the sophomore effort from Seattle-based Transient Songs, is a fun listen from beginning to end. If you haven’t heard of these guys yet, it should only be a matter of time.

“Foreign Rooms” is a nine tracks of jangly down-tempo college rock. In addition to invoking images of Radiohead and Velvet Underground, you’ll get some Joy Division overtones at times. The percussion, crafted by Ian Piña, sets the mood and atmosphere for this record. It’s called “Foreign Rooms”, but it would not be out of place at your summer evening back patio bbq. The guitar work is very clean, and the lead and rhythm sections are in constant communication with one another, almost as though they are having conversations. The basslines, for sake of comparison, are very reminiscent of what you might expect from Interpol, but Transient Sounds is much less moody. The vocals are well done, almost spoken-word at times, but never out of rhythm.

All these comparisons are not meant to suggest that this is a ripoff of other bands – in fact, it’s quite the opposite. “Foreign Rooms” is still a very original effort, and it’s put together in great fashion. The album begs to be played from beginning to end. If you’re a fan of any of the bands mentioned above, I would fathom that you will find something here that you enjoy.

As good as it is, the album isn’t perfect – it features some overdone cliche (“We are the last of a dying breed…”) and some of the songs sound very similar to one another, but these are minor and don’t take away from the enjoyment of the album.

Standout tracks: “Idle Hands”, “Southern City Saturdays”, “Sparrows” (which features a beautiful string arrangement), “Places that Scare You”, “Foreign Rooms”

TheShrevest Official UnScholar “Foreign Rooms” Score: B+. Pick it up and you’re not likely to be disappointed with your purchase.

Visit the official Transient Songs website for more information and to sample the record for yourself.

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