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.