Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Oliver

November 15, 2003

The most-used instrument of this day and age is not the electric guitar. Ok, I know what you’re thinking. You’re about to call me nuts. But no! The acoustic guitar is far more popular than the electric. It seems that everyone is integrating at least a little acoustic into their sound. It just sounds pretty. Oliver is a guy who uses the acoustic for acoustic rock. Like Dashboard Confessional minus the emo.

This CD is 9 straight tracks of acoustic rock. This is it’s best feature and it’s downfall. As all of the tracks are in mostly the same vein, they show a maturity and finesse in his songwriting, and clearly show what he’s best at. Unfortunately, they do get a bit repetitive towards the end. What makes this CD interesting is the supplementary instruments used. There’s an electric organ, violin, tenor sax, piano, and other assorted keyboard noises to compliment the sound, and it works wonderfully. The best use of auxiliary instruments is definitely on “Chapter Five”, where a piano and a violin fill out the song in a very dramatic way. Speaking of dramatic, the vocals here could be described with that adjective. They are of a tenor range, not too high, but not too low either. They flow well on the ears, and since they are the main focus of the cd, they’d better. He also likes harmony, which he does ok. It’s not the most mind-blowing harmonizing I’ve ever heard, but it’s definitely not the worst. Another focus of the cd, the lyrics, aren’t as palatable as the vocals. For one, only part of the lyrics for each song are printed, usually the first verse and chorus or just the chorus. Secondly, they tackle ordinary things in an ordinary way. And since that’s the title, that’s the way it was supposed to be. The best song here is “Subway Stranger”, which has great lyrics, great music, and a great vocal line. If they were all like this,  it would be an amazing album.

This cd is a good acoustic rock cd. It has some flaws in it, but overall it’s a good starting point for a career. The well-done auxiliary instruments give this an extra punch, and make this worth the cash for fans of acoustic music. Not everyone will enjoy this yet, but with a little more refining, this will be as big as Dashboard or Dave Matthews Band.

Read: www.olivereng.com
Listen: www.olivereng.com
Buy: www.cdbaby.com/olivereng

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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