Saturday, September 4, 2010
Liz's Album of the Week, or "Step aside, Jonas Brothers."
I lack my husband's more eloquent critical writing style, but I decided that this album is good enough to warrant an "Album of the Week" post, and so here I am to tell you about it. (I'm still new at this music critic writing thing--I'm better with my hands/sound effects--so if I sound pretentious, I apologize in advance.) A friend of ours gave us this album the other night, telling us it was her brothers and that she'd like us to have it.
Let's be honest, when someone gives you a cd and says "This is someone I know," I always get slightly wary. But between AnnAlyse's friendship and the professional shrink-wrapped, hard plastic cd case, we decided it must be pretty good.
And we were right.
Combining youthful honesty with instrumental mastery, the Gibbons echo the light-hearted dynamics of artists like Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Ben Folds, and Jamie Lidell, and regional artists like Jordan Tait and Nik Day.
Yeah. Did you guys hear that? They remind me of JASON MRAZ. And that's high praise...not the kind I hand out casually. This isn't just a few guys in a garage who wanted to record an album. These guys are a new love affair.
Here's why I love them. Because I love things that defy strict categorization. Their sound is a fusion of blues-rock, indie-pop, easy-listening, and funk-jazz. From the piano-driven melody of "What Can I Say" to the orchestral climax of the title song "More Than Air," they manage to maintain a defining "sound" while still exploring every inch of the dynamic they give themselves. They've got these GREAT funk lines that channel Steely Dan, but don't let that fool you. When it comes down to it, they can blow the blues like John Coltrane (like on the touching last song of the album, "Grandpa"). The upbeat "Where We Belong" makes me want to either dance, or create an awesome film/photo montage of people I love. "More Than Air" and "Gone" find me wandering down forgotten corridors of youthful regrets. Their cover of "I Saw The Light" has me driving around my old hometown on a warm summer night, when you're old enough to have freedom and young enough to use it delightfully foolishly.
And there's even a banjo. All an album needs to do to seduce me is to pick a banjo.
But all that aside, I love them because I can hear honesty in their music. Charlie Parker once said that "music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn." I believe that. It's funny...so much of art is a "lie." Theatre/film is really just actors and effects, art isn't really that scene, but a representation of that scene. But to paraphrase the words of another great artist, "Art is a lie that makes us see the truth" (Pablo Picasso). The best art happens when the artist is fully invested in the message...when they're truly feeling the words, the lines, the notes, the colors. And I hear that in the Gibbons' album.
So stop reading. Go check out their album, already! They're available on iTunes and in a handful of Deseret Books stores, and you can hear samples of their music here.