CD Shorts

Reviewed this week: The Brendan Hines; Katelyn Richards; and Dope Body

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Thursday, August 09, 2012

The Brendan Hines
Small Mistakes

Singing forms the core of Small Mistakes. Singer/songwriter Brendan Hines uses his vocal clarity to tell tales of woe and heartbreak in a style with a folk/blues core. The songs are somber affairs, weighted and weary, as if written by a metaphorical veteran who clearly lost his war. Small Mistakes is an apt title; the consistent theme of the songs are the mistakes of life, be they unwise love, as depicted in "Don't Meddle," alcoholism in "Cahuenga," or the myriad failures presented in the namesake song of the album, "Small Mistakes." Though there are nuances in the feelings of deep depression, and even perverse humor in the song "To the Skull," the album seems to fall short on depth; the low number of songs and their short length makes the experience feel over too soon. —Patrick Kelley


Katelyn Richards
Have Yours Too

Katelyn Richards' voice has a combination of bluesy whiskey scratch and slightly nasally cheerleader feel that's both versatile and mercilessly endearing, and she uses it in a wide variety of ways on this eclectic album. Her style traverses a spectrum of genres from country to rock, pop and jazz. The band—a grab-bag of Pioneer Valley talent anchored by drummer/keyboardist/producer Lincoln Hubley—creates an almost spitefully diverse bed of sounds using everything from crunchy guitars to stringy synths to Sousaphone. Richards' lyrics can get a little surreal/stream-of-consciousness, but sometimes they hit the nail on the head; "Yours Forever" is cute as hell, and "In a Town (Called Holyoke)," which features the oompah-licious sounds of the Primate Fiasco, should be adopted as the city's official song. —Tom Sturm


Dope Body
Natural History
(Drag City)

Crawling out of the gate with the lumbering "Shook," the sophomore album from this Baltimore quartet is difficult to classify. While the aforementioned track recalls the sludgier sounds of early grunge, "Road Dog" has more of a garage rock flavor and even incorporates a melodic bridge. Unfortunately, most other songs on the album alternate between two extremes. Heavier cuts like "Beat" and "Lazy Slave" seem to revel in the molasses-heavy rhythms of early metal, while numbers like "Out of My Mind" and "High Way" conjure a hard rock vibe only to be weighed down by frequent sound loops that can dominate the mix. When the band ups the tempo on the 58-second rave-up "Alpha Punk," which is actually a bonus track, listeners can hear the group's hardcore roots in full flight. It's a fun gallop too, and a speed Dope Body should stick to for the long run. —Michael Cimaomo




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