Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Reviews:: William F. Gibbs My Fellow Sophisticates

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It's a shame most CDs come with stickers that are jammed to the gunnels with RIYL and hyperbole laced descriptions. As I flip through the countless records on my desk, seeing that an artist might sound like, oh I don't know, M Ward, Langhorne Slim or Ryan Adams, increases the expectations to a staggering height. I know those are there to help the record bubble to the top of reviewers piles (note, it rarely works), but for a poor fella like William F. Gibbs it really pigeon holes a creative artist.

Now, at times I can see how the comparisons really fit (like the prototypical Adams sound on the nice piano tracks Oh Pollyanna and Ankle Deep In The Atlantic), but Gibbs song writing is really more soulful and genre bending than those listed on his one-sheet. Now, I'm not trying to say he should be placed above those great artists, more that he shouldn't simply be lumped into the masses that try to emulate them. On LA Money he shows that he can craft a soulful, Amos Lee like ballad. It's laced with nice acoustic guitar and organs and Operate is an almost Brit-pop, heavy falsetto, piano number that catches you off guard, but he his work really crackles when he takes his style down to the Bayou.

You can't ignore the horns and piano breakdown that dominates the last half of Darling, You Were Beautiful Once, especially after Gibb's vocals builds the intensity for the first three-minutes. Here Comes Your Steamboat Brother! Here Comes Your Freightline Sister! And Brother John! have a bit of that Cajun swagger mixed with some Red Elvises guitar styles. When the high pitched, 50's female vocals come out of nowhere on Here Comes.. or the piano dances behind hand claps, shouted choruses and strings on Brother John!, his music is about as far away from what you'd expect as it could get.

If I had to pick faults with his constant sound shifts, it's that probably he tries to do too much with this record. Streetfighter - which doesn't reference Van Damme or Deion and Hammer collabo Straight to My Feet - is a disco, funk heavy track that explodes (or maybe implodes) before you. It sticks out like Ginobli's nose and really makes it hard to recover when he shifts back into a more familiar style on Tomorrow Never Comes.

Posted at 10:04 AM by ack :: 1 comments

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At 12:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous did sayeth:

Operate - great track!


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