Gary Reynolds Volume One Deluxe Reviewed by The Shrevest

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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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Volume One by Chad Wolfe

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Review: Volume One
By: Chad Wolfe

This morning I drove through country gravel roads full of fog and rain to get to a job of clutter and noise, and Gary Reynolds collection Volume One was contemplative, patient, and melancholic enough—it is a sexy record, deliberate and so full of heart that it provided the perfect early morning drive soundtrack to get there. Volume One is anything but cluttered or noisy. There are experimentation’s with electricity for sure— re-verb, pedals, and amps. The scratch and hum of amplification. But it is a controlled chaos—so controlled that at times this listener wishes Reynolds would unleash his demons more heavily, and let the amplification rock to force all of us to run for cover.

Reynolds’s music is like rummaging through Bowie’s basement and finding a box of aborted B-sides; Volume One is a sweet and evil collection of songs borrowing from all over the place for inspiration. Reynolds honors all, though, and creeps them out as he plugs in and turns on amps. As the tubes heat up and prepare to deliver, the ghosts of British pop and rock invade Canada at Neil Young’s ranch where Crazy Horse sits with writer’s block while Bowie gets it on with Jagger out back by the engineered log pile; Richard Thompson is doing the dishes, humming melody after his morning tea; The Pretenders are moaning about hangovers, and Elton John just wants to sleep in. This is the company Gary Reynolds keeps. They will all meet on the ledge at some point in this day during Volume One.

Chad Wolfe lives and works in Southern Iowa where he’s grown a tremendous appreciation for open spaces, red vs. green tractor polemics, porches, and corn on the cob. When not writing about music, sports, and pop culture for the internet, he tries to avoid thinking too much about the future or the past.

Volume One by Phil Lisotti

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Review: Gary Reynolds “Volume One”
By: Phil Lisotti

It’s never too late to try and get back out there. After a five year hiatus, Gary Reynolds has returned to the music scene with the release of his first album in as many years, and shows that he has certainly not forgotten how to write a song. Also produced and engineered by the man himself, Gary comes swinging with strong heartfelt lyrics over a number of tracks with obvious strong inspiration from past masters in the music business, such as late 60’s Beatles-esque pop with early 70’s soft rock. Even a feint glimpse of 90’s alternative era influence can be heard, specifically in lieu of a band like Oasis.

The albums first track, Wall Eyed Girl, starts off with a soothing electric piano, giving a Beatles “Help” era feel. It doesn’t take long for the song to pick up with more instruments, giving the song a much more full feeling. Gary also shows some more strong ability to write on a piano, on songs such as Instant Happiness, Honeymoon, Who Do You Love (all three having a somewhat gloomy, heartbroken feel to them) and All Because of You, which is among the more happy sounding tracks off the album, a very inspiring story about a loved one with Gary having a bit of fun in the recording studio on the bridge (perhaps too much).

Guitars do play a big part in this album. Life on my Own has a John Fogerty sounding opening guitar riff that continues throughout the song, giving it a bit of a hard yet subtle feel. The song has one of the better choruses on the album, all thanks to the guitar playing. She’s the One has a harder guitar tone, very early 70’s-like tone. Along with its harmonized vocals make this track among the harder tunes, unfortunately it is not a very long track, but it will undoubtedly have its listener singing along. Want is the most 90’s sounding track off the album, with its hard guitar tone, and strong usage of intermittent guitar playing during verses, making way for the drums and bass to have a bit of spotlight (listen to Nirvana, you’ll notice they do this quite a bit). Getting Over is the last of the strong guitar driven tracks on the album. It combines the previously mentioned electric piano in the background, but rest assured it is a guitar player’s song, featuring one of few guitar solos on the album. And it’s a dandy bluesy guitar solo too.

Elijah is a very well written track, starting off acoustically, and feeling like a Neil Young song until the rest of the instruments come in. One of the softer tracks on the album, it is also probably the most full track, filled with piano, tambourine, drums and a string section, perfect for the listener who just wants to relax, not play anything hard, but at the same time doesn’t want to play a corny ballad…not that there is anything wrong with a corny ballad.

Songs like Lay It down on Me and Paula My Dear aren’t defined by the instruments played on them. They are more or less the singer’s songs on the album. Gary may not be the most talented singer, but he has a voice that can certainly be listened to. Waiting for Godot is probably the albums weakest track. Gary concentrates more on the song’s lyrics rather than the delivery of the lyrics, giving it a bit of an uneven feeling. And the albums finally track, I Will Remain, ends the album off on a very Beatles sounding note. It features multi-tracked vocals to make Gary’s voice sound stronger and mixes acoustic guitars with electric guitars, and its lyrics, as the title suggests, assure the listener that even though it is the last song, it is not the last we’ll hear of Gary.

All in all, this album is pretty good! It lacks some originality, but in this day in age so does almost everyone. What matters is that there is a strong sense of music knowledge and song writing skills displayed throughout the album. Great for the avid listener of soft rock or softer classic rock artists such as Billy Joel or John Mellencamp

ALBUM HIGHLIGHT
“Instant Happiness” – The best written song on the album. On a music’s standpoint, it goes from a staccato piano beat with Gary’s soft sung lyrics over top that sounds like he’s creeping up getting ready to jump up and scare you, and he almost does. The verse leads to a slightly harder chorus, with the full band playing and Gary singing his heart out. The track is another to feature a guitar solo, and just like Getting Over, it is a guitar player’s solo. Not a complex one but a bluesy one with a lot of feeling to it.

FINAL RATING
7 (Out of 10)

Phil Lisotti writes for Phil’s Rock Reviews which is a site for avid rock fans – http://rockreviewphil.blogspot.ca – Also check out his facebook page.