Saturday, February 24, 2007

Roark - Break of Day

Band: Roark
Album: Break of Day
Release Date: February 20, 2007
Label: Love Minus Zero

Break of Day grew on me very quickly. It’s got an infectious feel-good vibe that makes it a lot of fun to listen to, even at its slower points. It’s one of those CDs that, for me, seems to do everything I want it to. I have a habit of wanting songs to go in certain directions, and unfortunately, I get disappointed quite a bit. However, it’s that much better when amongst the disappointment, one CD seems to get everything right. The CD isn’t without its slowdowns but it keeps it’s pace nicely by balancing them out with upbeat songs, and never slowing down for too long.

The CD opens with “Never Felt So Lucky,” it sets the stage for the acoustic theme of the disc. However, It’s not bland by any means. The acoustic guitar isn’t left by itself, instead it’s backed, often by full band or a few accompanying instruments. The next track, “Into Pieces”, instantly became one of my favorites. The electric lead is layered on top of the acoustic rhythm adds a complexity that isn’t exactly prevalent in the typical acoustic music you find these days.

Moving on to “Movin’ On,” (get it haha) I was greeted again by a song that quickly became one of my favorites. I enjoy the use of organ throughout the song. The wine of the electric guitar creates the emotional theme of the song. The song has a variety of ups and downs; it comes to a near halt, which further adds to that emotional feeling. Next comes “Today (Perfect),” it starts with a slow deliberate pace from the piano. However, a few crescendos give the song more depth and keep it from remaining too bland or repetitive. Plus, the harmony of the vocals shows off Roark’s vocal talents.

“Letters Listen” is one of the songs on the CD that seems to just what I wanted it to. It picks up and tapers off, just where I expected. As the song progresses, there is an introduction of vocal beats. They are one of the reasons I love music from Sufjan Stevens and Anathallo, but here, they are presented in a more typical style of music, which would be more universally appealing. “Brighter Side” is by no means a fast song. But, it picks the pace of the album back up, just when it could have become boring.

As much as I am a fan of this CD overall, “Broken Smiles” is where I start to lose interest. Again, it brings the pace of the release back down. The vocal highs of the song, however, are done exceptionally well; they are done without seeming forced or even falsetto. Fortunately, there is some hope; the songs that follow are by no means uninteresting. “Song From The TV” makes use of one of the few gimmicks that I can actually tolerate, tuning. While here, it is clearly from a TV, another example can be found in the beginning of “There’s A Bully in the Park and A Hero in My Baseball Bat” from The Morning Of, who recently re-released their EP, which by the way I would recommend. “All Of The Riches” is another song that loses my interest. Thankfully, “Ask Myself” is one of my favorites that sneaks in at the end. The rim tap is one way of keeping the beat that I’m a fan of. But, it doesn’t go without competition. Later in the song, the beat is kept by handclap. While I mentioned it, I didn’t make it terribly apparent in my previous review, but I’m a sucker for a clapped beat.

Finally, “Take It Slow” provides the summation of the album. It’s not one of my favorites, but it’s certainly not un-enjoyable. Perhaps, the best part of it is the fact that it doesn’t end in a gimmicky way. I can’t explain how much gimmicks in music turn me off. It’s not particularly enjoyable, and it’s rather pointless. Also, I’m not a fan of the 15-minute songs with 8 minutes of silence between the last and ‘hidden’ tracks, but that’s a rant for another time.

Overall, I’m very happy with this release. At times, I find myself being reminded of music from artists like The Allman Brothers Band. I think it is certainly a very likable album, and I won’t be surprised if Roark gains some popularity for it.

1 comment:

Hobb said...

For some reason my RSS aggregator didn't pick this up. Good review though. I really need to work on getting something on here.