Chance McGinness (moniker Tennesse Rain) makes lo-fi recording that lies somewhere between Sublime, John Mayer, and M. Ward. It’s actually a lot better than this description sounds. Granted there were some moments that didn’t sit too well with me but then there are other times where he redeems himself. Despite the occasional blunders his latest album Lab Rat is put together well and has a good pace and the songs don’t overstay stay their welcome. However, I was hoping to hear some of these songs a bit more refined. This album often suffers from poor production. McGinness may want to consider recording in a studio next time around to add a bit of polish to his recording.
The first song “Cig Trippin’” had a Jack Johnson/Sublime type vibe which revolved around an acoustic guitar and a beat-box percussion made from his mouth. It wasn’t my favorite song and left me a bit confused as to what type of music I was listening to. In fact, it wasn’t until the third song “Hailey Rey” that I felt I heard some honesty and emotion that was lacking from the first two songs. It featured a nice acoustic melody, good vocal line and a straightforward approach that had the band back in my good graces. There was a vulnerability on this song as well that made it more attractive. “Lab Rat” was a cool song - somewhere between Beirut and Sublime. I liked the vibe and it could have been radio-ready if the production was improved. Other songs like “Find Yourself” sounded like the instruments were not in sync at some points or were just begging for a remix. The Rastafarian vibe that remains throughout the rest of the album is a mixed bag but tends to have more winners and it is ultimately up to the listener to decide whether they want to hear each whole song or keep moving forward to the next track. The album does end on a high note with “Stay Positive” which is a well-crafted song that embraces the fact that we should appreciate the time we have while we still have it. Overall, Lab Rat shows us that Tennessee Rain is capable of making good songs with very little resources. In fact, if you dig this album you should check out his latest entitled eastside go-getters which futher improves on his songwriting ability.
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