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CD REVIEW: Brian Lee - "Moth" 

By: Cyrus Rhodes

 

"will lift your spirits - without even trying"

- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST:-

 

 

**********

Artist: Brian Lee
Album: Moth

Label: Independent Artist

Website: www.cdbaby.com/cd/bleetunes

Genre: Acoustic Pop Rock, Folk

Sounds Like: They Might Be Giants, Gin Blossoms, Jack Johnson

Technical Grade: 8/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 7/10
Songwriting Skills: 7/10
Performance Skill: 7/10
Best Songs: Lady in Black, Moths

Weakness: Needs more vocal passion, predictable & repetitive sounding catalogue


CD REVIEW:  

Seattle-based singer/songwriter Brian Lee releases his latest CD “Moth” in 2010. The following members include: Brian Lee on lead vocals, Franchot Tone as guitarist, bassist, backup vocalist, engineer/producer, Dean Butterworth as drummer on four tracks, Adam Topol playing drums/percussion on six tracks, Grace Laxson on backup vocals and Josh Sarles as guitarist for one song and backup vocalist on three songs.

The CD gently takes flight with “Love to Me” a soothing acoustic intro piece that serves up steady rock groove, catchy vocal melodies, & hooky harmonies. Track 2 “Wrapped up in Books” shifts gears a bit with driving rock rhythm, Gin Blossomy type guitars segments, & addictive vocal melodies from Lee & company. Track 3 “Glad you are Mine” serves up a clever, upbeat piece of music complete with clever lyrical content, & impressive vocal accents & harmonies. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic They Might Be Giants, Gin Blossoms, Death Cab for Cutie, The Beetles, & perhaps a splash of Jack Johnson, This CD makes a pretty solid first impression. Right from the start you will notice rich musical textures overflowing everywhere, full of warmth, variety, & strong melodic structure. I would classify this music as acoustic pop rock, with a slight aftertaste of alternative folk. The songs themselves are addictive, & upbeat, complete with positive, carefree subject matter. Track 4 “Lady in Black probably my second favorite track on the CD has an amazing chorus that no doubt showcases impressive songwriting skills. The musicianship of this band is pretty solid across the board. The players themselves write, & play there parts extremely well. Along the way you will notice lush layers of instrumentation. Besides the 4 piece standard you will also notice impressive things well placed piano, & slide guitar along the way. Lee’s voice works well across the board & fills the sonic space peacefully & unobtrusively. All songs are short & sweet musical experiences, never too winded, never to short. From upbeat “Devil Hunter” & “want You” to passionate “fences” & “21 Again” to rocking “Boys Don’t Cry” to my personal favorite “Moth” this CD pretty much has it all.  

I like Lee’s vocal style but there are times I really wish he would take more vocal risks thus pushing the emotional envelope a bit more. This is especially true during some of the finale moments of the music. When these opportunities present themselves rather than rise to the occasion, Lee elects to just play it safe delivering a somewhat uneventful, repetitive, boring, luke-warm vocal delivery. Song for song Lee could use more vocal moxy, personality & phrasing dynamic. Overall "Moth" needs to come out of it's shell a bit more, & take flight. Delivering a slam dunk, live presentation may be a bit of a stretch with songs like this. I suspect the track "Fences" needs more lyrics. It's fair to say some of the songs on the catalogue, like the vocals are overly conservative, very predictable & are somewhat repetitive to the ear over time.     

“Moth” is an impressive musical production from start to finish. The music is clean, goes down smooth, & the messages are upbeat & sung from a deeply carefree perspective. It’s strong suit – the solid consistency & musical warmth of Brian Lee & company. He possesses enough musical talent & songwriting prowess to be dangerous. The musicianship is first rate. Once again the vocals, vocal harmonies, & melodic accents are brilliantly placed & extremely well crafted. “Moths“ goes down smooth, & overall - will lift your spirits - without even trying.     

Cyrus Rhodes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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