Saturday, March 2, 2013

Spintunes #6 Round 3 Review: Graham Porter

As a general comment I am very impressed with how much sincerity you all brought to your songs this round. I felt privileged to be part of a contest where people were prepared to sing about difficult issues with honesty and resolve. Putting these songs into any kind of order was extremely hard, I feel like everyone brought their A game.

TurboShandy - Guns
Really good rock sound, lead guitar fills during the second verse work well. Love the transition into the second verse. Vocal performance carried the right amount of snark and sincerity when required. For the most part the lyrics are good, but the joking second half of chorus feel a little out of tone with the rest. Always nice to hear a guitar, surprised you really just played the melody. I generally don't like fading out, I guess you could argue it helps your point that the song keeps playing. Also Rambo only killed one person in 'First Blood', so there wasn't that much killing. Unless you're counting 'First Blood II' in with it in which case that line works better. Uh, I mean, music MUSIC!

Jenny Katz - Next Nice Town
The suburban angst running through your lyrics perfectly matches the gentle musical consistency. I always enjoy the VVBVV structure and its well used here. The lead guitar adds a great deal of sonic interest to this, in particular laying the USA national anthem for the solo seems to sum up the tone of the whole song succintly. That the violence of the last verse brings the journey to great end.

RC - An Equal Start
Excellent fingerpicked guitar playing and a powerful vocal delivery. The piano added a delicate sadness that, with that sustained synth to close, really brought out the solemn mood. Your lyrics sell your protest with simplicity and heart. Colouring the final chorus and the lift for the bridge contribute good progression to the song.

Edric Haleen - On The Matter Of Bullying
Fantastic vocal performance, subtly controlled piano playing. As so often you are able to keep a long song interesting with just two instruments. These are some stirring and ambitious lyrics that progress through a broad ageing and history whilst retaining a coherent story. The ambiguity of the end is very strong, being both ominous and hopeful.

Ross Durand - Don't Send Them Away
Solid performance, acoustic nature serves the lyrics well. Building up the additional instruments creates the presence of a growing protest. Song is compact and very good overall, lacks a little edge needed to take it to the next level.

Steve Durand - Just War
Some gorgeous brass augment a very enjoyable musical arrangement and performance. The smart and simple chorus is the highlight of a decent set of lyrics. The spoken line is a nice touch, sounds like it work great as an audio sample if one existed. The song is perhaps a little long but the sharp cut off at the end completes the song perfectly.

Jerry Skids - The Separation Of State And Nothing
There is an anger and confrontation in the lyrics which is delivered magnificently by a vocal performance which is equal parts sneering and pleading. I can really taste the disgust in the punkish vocals. "A world without God is like a world without wisdom teeth" is a hell of a line. Interesting structure, too.

The Middle Relievers - Love Builds Homes
Great synth brass? (accordion?) phrase during the opening and throughout. Vocals are a bit indistinct in a muddy mix, shame as the very melodic vocal line is the standout of this song. The lyrics are great with the verses telling interesting little stories that lead into an appealing chorus. The "shut your mouth" line feels too aggressive for the song.

Brian Gray - Walk (Live From Woodbury)
This was a very interesting approach to the lyrics. At first a protest song on behalf of zombies felt a bit weak compared to the other entrants, but the realisation that the walkers are a substitute for the poor gave it a lot more weight. Musically it sounds great, guitars especially; giving it a live ambience absolutely worked.

Dr. Lindyke - The Square
A novel approach, taking up the protest of the down but not out. Interesting to see the song be a call to arms for the Chinese people as opposed to a standard protest at the Communist regime. The bluesy piano matches the sadness reflection of their defeat well. The bass guitar line and the excellent drumming add a real depth to your arrangement.

MC Ohm-I - If You Don't Like Gay Marriage
Your lyrics deliver your protest with clarity and your rapping keeps the facts entertaining. You've produced some good hooks in this contest and this is no exception. The vocal improvisation during the outro is a lot of fun. The outro is a little long and ends awkwardly, ending at 2:25 would have worked better.

Kevin Savino-Riker - Dinosaur Sam
You seem to have to two very distinctive musical styles. Whilst I like magic acoustic guitar Savino-Riker, I adore Kevin Funk. This sounds fantastic, that bass guitar is going everywhere I like. Your chorus brings extra excitement at the right point and the chorus lyrics are smart (including the pun). A fun ending for a fun song that makes it's point well.

SHADOWS

"Buckethat" Bobby Matheson
A real pity you just missed the deadline. As it stands, this rounds out an album of opinions perfectly. Some genuine truths in this song, protesting protest songs in general is a good take on the challenge. Enjoy the simple music, though the double tracked vocals sounded a little out of time at times.

The Boffo Yux Dudes - Eat The Whales
Some clever and hilarious lyrics, with a decent performance and arrangement to boot. Repeating the chorus at the end is unnecessary.

The Boffo Yux Dudes - The Ballad Of The Last Of The Hackers
Presenting the case for open source in a reworking of a traditional folk hero. Smart idea, carried out well. Good melody line, particularly in the chorus, well sung, simple accompaniment works.

Dr Lindyke - Memory Of A Future Past
I wish this had been your official entry, it's hauntingly beautiful. It's stripped down accompaniment and melancholic vocals are every bit as strong as it's fragile poetical lyrics. Production sounds good.

Dr. Lindyke - It's A Joke, Not A Dick
Whilst I think this song was best utilised as a shadow, I am so glad it exists. Keeping this drummer around, he's great! Some clever lyrics well delivered vocally, way to double down against criticism. Cherry Pi continues to be a revelation.