CD REVIEW: Luke Jon Shearer - Close Your Eyes, Open Your Mind
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Luke Jon Shearer
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Chill, Electronica, Chill, Dub, Ambient, Epic Pop
Sounds Like: Muse, Moby, Digby Jones, Oakmen, Canis, Sutra, Flipside, The Man Behind C, Bhangralution
Technical Grade: 6/10
Weakness: Winded songs, more live instrumentation, more solo segments, overly synthetic and one dimensional release
(NEW SOUTH WALES, AUS) Luke Jon Shearer is a multi-instrumentalist and solo artist from Newcastle, Australia. To date he has released two album's with Sydney band Temple Of Sorrow in which his stamp on the band's sound was dramatic and immediate through he's creation of beautiful, spacious walls of sound. After touring both Australia and abroad throughout the past three years, Luke entered the Studio in 2012 under his full birth name of Luke Jon Shearer to record his Debut Solo Album. Set for release in 2013 the Album titled 'Close your eyes, Open your mind' is an album of immense beauty and atmosphere where one song flow's into the next in a swirl of piano, guitars, and strings entwined around emotional thought provocative vocals. This latest 10 Track release comes to us in 2014. Influences include the likes of Pink Floyd, Radiohead and Muse.
The CD slowly blasts off with ‘Black Rain” an ambient intro piece that serves up hypnotic rhythms, with pulsating bass painted against a colorful canvass of music from guitar. Keyboards and mesmerizing vocals from Shearer that comes at you from every which direction. Track 2 “Precious One” presents a kaleidoscope of soothing sound featuring dynamic rhythms, and vivid melody that that flow and ebbs its way through fruition. By track 2 you realize “Close Your Eyes, Open Your Mind” may be on to something very creative here as these High-End DIY Mac-ish type recordings are diamonds in the rough – but diamonds nonetheless. Track 3 “Peace on Earth” shifts gears a bit with its impressive intro, methodical beat meshed against mesmerizing keyboard, guitar and synthesizer accents with hypnotic walls of sound that are both infectious and hypnotic. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear so many elements of Epic Pop, Ambient, Techno, Chill and Dub rhythms painted against a clever canvass of enticing are highly entertaining electronic sound effects. You will also notice lush layers musical instrumentation layered everywhere from low end beats and rhythms, to pulsating moog and bass segments, to ambient synthesizer, keyboard and sonic vocals layered along the way. You will also notice keyboards, electric Piano, Strings, Orchestral accents, sonic vocals and sound effects, electronic beats and sporadic percussive accents, exotic phased sampling layered within the music. The songs themselves are extremely unique, highly original, and in itself a brilliantly clever. Despite this I can still hear influences by Pink Floyd, Radiohead and Muse. Vocally Shearer showcases a mostly reverb-soaked vocal approach, that is effective and melodic nonetheless. The sound-scapes are interesting, infectious, and hypnotic. The grooves and rhythms are methodical and well placed and the ambient accents are well placed and flow and ebb extremely well song for song. The CD has some truly impressive moments on it showcasing an impressive songwriting core craft, and top tiered productions strokes. This CD has something for just about everyone. It’s definitely a dynamic and electro-progressive musical statement that offers a lot of musical variety and vivid sound imagery that push the envelope. From invigorating “Windowpane” to melodic “To the Moon” to hypnotic “Weightless” to epic “The Dying Light” this CD has something for just about everyone. CD Ends with Track 10 “Fearless” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
I wish there were more solo segments. Shearer should also incorporate live recordings into his work to add more sonic dimension to the catalog. At the end of the day this CD and all its instrumentation come across as overly synthetic and sounds a bit one dimensional. (It’s obvious this album was made entirely with a mac). Though the Electronic Drums provide some variety, it's fair to say they lack in thick low end frequency and punch. Whoever put these rhythmic tracks did a great job but they are overly synthetic, lack performance and frequency dynamics, are somewhat predictable and one sided and sound a bit thin. To go with the first comment - adding in a live drummer to go with the Electronic Drums, or bringing in an experience beat master would totally clear this last issue up. I also wish there were more solo segments throughout the CD. All songs over 5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line.
Overall this release from Luke Jon Shearer “Close Your Eyes, Open Your Mind” is actually quite amazing. Make no bones about it – this CD took some time to craft and piece together. A guy like Shearer obviously has a lot of potential as a composer/producer. Equally as impressive are the electronic rhythms and beats that come with the territory. This will also appeal to those who enjoy Electronic-based music. Finally there are even elements of ambient, chill-out and dub music making Shearer sort of a triple threat musically. The CD works best for those who want musical ambience to fill their sonic space. I found the listening experience quite refreshing, highly original and unique. It fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively. It flows extremely well song for song and note for note. Shearer is a force to be reckoned with if he can incorporate some upgrades into his overall sound he can get to a level of say Hans Zimmer one day.. des