CD REVIEW: Flash Jack Eppington - Penny Up
By: Cyrus Rhodes
Flash Jack Eppington
Genera: College Rock - Alternative Rock, Indie Folk,
Sounds Like: Violent Femmes, Blind Mellon, The White Stripes
Weakness: Drum Recordings, Timing Issues, Overall Production Quality, Short Sided CD
Singer/Songwriter/Producer Flash Jack Eppington releases his latest CD entitled Penny Up in 2011. Eppington plays all instruments on the CD except Mike Cano who plays Electric Bass on Track 2 & Andy Kemp who plays Lead guitar on Track 2. Eppington hails from Massachusetts & I might add he Produced & Engineered this CD himself.
The CD kicks things off with “Undercurrents” an interesting intro piece that serves up psychedelic rock groove, impressive musical soundscapes, & passionate vocal accents courtesy of lead singer/guitarist Flash Jack Eppington. Undercurrents’ is in itself an amazing intro statement, & makes for a good musical first impression with its rich personality & hooky melody. Track 2 “Long Way Home” shifts gears a bit with slow driving rhythm & psychedelic accents reminiscent of The Violet Femmes, The Flaming Lips, Talking Heads, The White Stripes & even Blind Lemmon. Track 3 “Cellphone” is a slow moving ballad that flows & ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. All in all the CD has an impressive amount of depth & personality to it. But getting back to Eppington – it’s obvious to me his is a musical mastermind. His lyrics & vocal paraphrasing are extremely catchy, addictive, & infectious. His vocal style just refuses to try too hard & possesses pure emotion with each passing moment. He has the vocal swagger of say a Jack White (The White Stripes), Gordon Gano (The Violent Femmes) with just splash of tragedy like Shannon Hoon (Blind Mellon). But what makes Eppington so convincing is the amazing amount of emotion you can hear in his voice. This is never more evident than on Track 3 “Ballad of the Gentleman.” As it slithers across your ears you will be mesmerized by its addictive groove & priceless lyrical content. The CD ends with track 6 “Penny Up” the perfect finale statement for a CD like this.
The CD is not without a few weaknesses. All drum performances & recordings sound a bit amateurish. At times the drums sound muddy & don’t flow & ebb well with the flow of the music. Since we're on the subject I did not fail to notice several timing flaws sprinkled throughout the CD. Between all instruments – many songs lack syncopation, in other words the timing needs to be tightened up. I really enjoyed Eppington's vocal flair & dynamic personality but at times he sounds like he’s really struggling to hit some the higher notes. Now turning our attention over to the overall production quality - the overall mix lacks serious bottom-end punch & crystal clear high-end clarity. Also with a 6 song line-up this CD feels more like an EP than a full length. Perhaps 4-5 more songs a needed to make this a complete musical experience. If I could say anything to Eppington - get a full band to back you up both live & in the studio & surround yourself with a team of professional Recording, Mixing & Mastering Engineers that can do your music the proper justice.
From start to finish "Penny Up” is an impressive CD. It’s an extremely psychedelic catalogue of music but what makes it so amazing is the artistic brilliance & musical presence of Flash Jack Eppington. Make no bones about it – Eppington is a somewhat undiscovered talent. Praise goes out to the artist that can show us something genuine & pure beneath their veil of vanity. Flash Jack Eppington is one of those artists.