Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 13/3
american [fever] dream
Written by: TL on 31/12/2010 15:10:37
Right, the New Years rampage is only hours away, and here goes my last ditch effort for 2010. The first promo of the day is one I'm not quite sure why we've been sent, because judging from this album "american [fever] dream", the Seattle-based song-writer and pianist Aaron English isn't much of a rock artist at all.
Instead, from what I'm hearing, I'd classify the music on offer here, as pop or soul before I even think of rock. I do this based in the fact that the core sound is built with cool grooves, piano-tones and ambiance, and when I do occasionally notice a guitar somewhere in the soundscape, it seems to have been through enough pedals to satisfy The Edge himself. And speaking of The Edge (U2's guitarist, in case you've been living under a rock), the closest parallel to Aaron English's sound I can think of, is the chilled, atmospheric mood that inhabits many places on U2's most recent record "No Line On The Horizon".
As is often the case with one man bands, the focal point however, is on the vocals and the lyrics. And the singing at least, is undeniably good. English has a fine baritone voice, but also boasts an impressive, sharp high range, which sees use on occasion and in terms of references, I kind of hear him as a voice somewhere in between those of Bono, Sting and Robbie Williams. As for his lyrics, most seem anchored in rather skeptical observations of society, rather than more ordinary themes of personal sentimental experience.
Maybe that's also why this whole record - well performed, recorded and produced as it unquestionably is - strikes me as a little bit cold and unengaging. As good as English sings, and as atmospheric as his music is, the songs lack a certain kind of charisma. The kind which truly memorable songs use to connect with the listener. The exception to this observation is the single "The Name Of This Song Is A Secret", which alone boasts a hook that is instantly memorable. Outside of that however, I find that the product on "american [fever] dream" is more interesting than it is exciting, and as usual, that's not quite enough to make me dig out the high marks:
Download: The Name Of This Song Is A Secret,
For The Fans Of: Bono, Robbie Williams, Sting
Release Date April 2010