Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pictures and Sound

While putting together my top 10 this year, I had the time to dig into some of the artists on the list. Obviously, there are several on there who I follow, like THWFOS or The Travelling Band, but in some cases I was only familiar with that one song.

A good example is no. 4, Pictures and Sound. "It's You" lead me to their Myspace page where there about five or so songs in total off the August self titled release. Turns out that Pictures and Sound is the project of former Blue Merle singer Luke Reynolds, as well as drummer Pete McNeal and bassist Dave Wilder. Blue Merle called it quits in the spring of 2006 and I guess this is what Reynolds has been occupying himself with since then.

As for those other songs I mentioned, I've got to say, they're pretty good. So frequently a visit to an unfamiliar artist's Myspace is a complete let down, but it's definitely not the case here. Reynolds himself, as I said in the list, has some lyrical tendencies akin to Jack Johnson. Not Identical-- sorry, no mention of banana pancakes-- but similar in the clarity. The words come easily and simply. In terms of voice, there's some Mat Kearney in there. Overall, it's more stylized than either Johnson or Kearney, but not in an overproduced, glossed mess sense. The songs remain accessible and smooth.

"100 Directions" is the best of the bunch. It opens with glinting (synth maybe?) backed by low beats and just kind of spreads out. Then there's "Everything Leaves a Mark" which recounts meeting and falling for a girl one night. "It was one of those nights that'll ring in your ears, the rest of your life, while the rest disappear."

There's a certain "carpe diem" vibe running through several of the songs, as seen by someone who is maybe not as young as he once was but who values the idea of recognizing and being in the moment while he can. It's not bad sentiment at all. Case in point: "The Youth" (bit obvious, yeah?) There's a line that says "Some things come around only once, then you take your turn and then you pass it on." Between "The Youth" and "Forever to Reach" ("it took forever to reach and a moment to pass"), you get the idea that he's perhaps flirting with middle age, but it's not the lament you'd expect but more of a satisfied look back.

Check it out if you haven't. This album has made its way on to the wish list, so maybe sometime I'll have a full review to post.

In the meantime, let's enjoy not being middle aged. H'okay?

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