SHAWN MULLINS: THE GUY WITH THE VOICE

SM3Music review by PJ Cornell.

Syndicated from the Asterisked Music Journal.

Assessment: 9 out of 10

Bottom line up front: This guy just needs to put out more songs.  But what he lacks in quantity, he makes up for in quality.  When he sings, it feels like he’s talking to you.  When he talks, it feels like he’s singing.  An incredible voice.

Highlights: Lullaby.  I think this is a cover; I’m certain I’ve heard this song before — but not performed this well.  Again, the best feature of this song is this guy’s incredible baritone.  What he has achieved with this recording is what meditation tapes try and fail to achieve — total relaxation in the deepest recesses of the soul.  Simply excellent.

Criticisms: More songs, please.

Conclusion: This guy’s manager should hook him up with a song writer and start putting out more recordings immediately.

SILLS & SMITH: AN UPCOMING INTEGRATION OF SOUND

No Way In No Way Out  - SILLS & SMITH  CD Artwork frontArticle by PJ Cornell.

Syndicated from The Asterisked Music Journal.

Assessment: 8.8 out of 10.

Bottom Line Up Front: This is a band with a very full sound.  It’s a big sticky ball of alternative rock that rolled down a grassy hill, picking up pieces of several other genres in its path.  If you are a fan of Our Lady Peace, but think they’re too morose, you’d probably love these guys.  Their songs are different enough, that you really have to listen to their songs 2-3 times before you really “get” them, but not so different that they are likely to alienate audiences.

Highlights: The two things that really stand out about this band are the harmonic content, and the guitar solos.  This isn’t your 3-chord rock; think more John Lennon.  And when they cut their lead guitar loose, it’s something to experience.  Great solos.  The vocalists interact with one another very well, as well.  Their best song is Would it All be Different.  It starts off simply enough with a simple progression in the rhythm and a simple tune on top of it.  Then everything drops off, and we are treated to a Dream Theater-esque symphonic experience.  The guitars play a beautiful, quiet riff, while the vocalists create sonic textures that are somehow reminiscent of both Morton Feldman and medieval liturgical music.  The section culminates in a very gratifying guitar solo before reprising to its original thought.

Criticisms: I don’t have much bad to say about these guys.  Obviously prolific and talented.  My one suggestion is that there are a couple ways this band could go in the future.  This band could easily fall into the trap of losing touch with the listener if they try too hard to be different.  So long as they don’t try to force it, though, I think these guys will just keep getting better and better with time.

Conclusion: I look forward to experiencing new musical landscapes with these guys in the future.