Sunday, October 16, 2011

Review: Scott Gagner - Rhapsody In Blonde

We all require different things from our music from time to time. Sometimes we need it raw and ready, other times we need it soft and comfortable... hmm... sort of sounds like like something else we all need from time to time.... but I digress.

There are times my ears ache for something highly polished and downright slick. Scott Gagner's "Rhapsody In Blonde" is about as slick as it gets. This is achieved not only through the full round sound - though the production values are top notch here - but also through Gagner's songwriting which comes across as effortless and silky smooth.

"I Hate To Say" begins things with a Lenny Kravitz vibe placed atop a lyric filled with slightly twisted maxims and cliches. The juxtaposition is a clever one and just ironic enough to not become too jokey. "Laura No. 1" is a joyous pop tune with echoes of Kristian Hoffman's best work. "Houdini" is a pretty song with a deep sonic texture reminiscent of the softer side of Jason Falkner.

Kravitz... Hoffman... Falkner... those names should give you some idea of the terrain being covered here, though Gagner definitely has his own voice even on his cover of the GnR classic "Sweet Child o' Mine," which actually comes across as sticky sweet... in a good way.

I must say, however, I'm not sold on the sequencing of the disc. The flow of the album is dominated by stretches of slower songs one after another, only really broken up in the second half of the album by the back-to-back up-tempo numbers "Take Two" and "Ride." The softer material can wash out a little as a result... though when there is a gem like "Houdini" in there it is worthwhile to pull them out of context so each can shine on its own.

Grade: A-

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