Brandon Schott “Crayons & Angels”
Brandon Schott has always been an artist who knows better than most how to set the mood. After the great Verdugo Park EP, he’s expanded this into a full album with the help of Andrew Curry, Andy Reed and Jason Wormer. The childlike innocence of the instrumental “Dandelion” leads into the album’s biggest song “Henry,” a richly layered portrait of a boyhood optimism, complete with harmonies, horns and toy piano. “Cerulean Seas” is another like-minded song that sails along, as most compositions here are strongly influenced by Pet Sounds and Sir McCartney. Another gem is “Every Little Song,” a beautiful duet with Kelly Jones, where the melody twists with each key change.
Plenty of instrumental filler is found between many songs, tying the theme together but I suspect they are more snippets that didn’t fit elsewhere (“Sunglow”) and this make the albums middle a bit lightweight. However many strong compositions remain like “Seeing You In Stereo” and “Dear Daisy” is a catchy guitar led melody. The grand “Wisteria” is an exceptionally good atmospheric instrumental, and the wonderful “Dandelion Rain” is the best love song I’ve heard this year. Add to this the Elvis Costello cover “Riot Act” and you’ve got a winner. Highly Recommended.
One Like Son “Classic”
While the novelty of a debut recorded on an iphone has passed, One Like Son (aka Stephen Poff) continues to pump out some great music from his Montgomery, AL studio. “As Seen on TV” has that big repeating riff, and a memorable melody. “Down To Hollywood” follows the Cheap Trick template, and the casual “Summer Days” reminded me of Extreme’s acoustic pop. Overall, the music seems more hard rock oriented than past releases.
“A Praise Song” is like a superhero theme from a Christian rock band, with its buzzsaw sound and an infectious bounce. Not everything flows as smoothly; some metal guitar indulgences are tiresome (“Borderline” and “It Knocks Me Out”) and the lack of any ballads makes this 13 track album a heavy lift. Stephen does sprinkle in some good songs, like the mid-tempo “Five Good Years” and energetic “Whispers” to end things. Give it a try, and you’ll find a favorite tune within.