Brief Reviews

Owl City – All Things Bright and Beautiful

I haven’t listened to Ocean Eyes for a while, so this comparison may be a little off, but this latest release seems to be more pop and less synth-elctro-pop. The clever, cutesy lyrics and electronic beats remain, but musically it seems softer and dare I say it… almost like what you’d hear on any contemporary Christian radio station. Not that that’s bad. There is a market for that. I had just hoped for a little more.

The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow

I love this album. Barton Hollow will appeal to the young indie crowd and older casual music listener alike. It’s like The Swell Season only with heavier folk influences. The musical arrangement is simple and sparse which allows the male/female vocal harmonies of The Civil Wars to shine. Most of the album is pretty low key except for the upbeat hoedown that is the title track. It’s a great listen for a quiet, relaxing, afternoon.

David Bazan – Strange Negotiations

I’m still trying to live with this album. And, I think it’s growing on me. Bazan is a great wordsmith, and this album is no exception. What’s missing for me is the raw emotional outpouring that was Curse Your Branches, but perhaps the lack of emotion is fitting for this album’s subject matter. Musically, Negotiations is a step up and probably a little more cohesive sounding across the board. Lyrically, we find Bazan in a healthier, hopeful, state of mind, picking up the pieces and putting his life back together from the pain he dealt with in Branches. Keep in mind though, this is not the pre-Branches, David Bazan. This is a new model that struggles with the idea of God and rejects his evangelical upbringing.

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