I was looking at the album cover and song titles for Boonton, USA by Bryan Yurcan and I thought I already know what this is. That’s definitely a presumptuous thought but just looking at the imagery and song titles it seems like this is going to be nostalgic American folk/rock. I wasn’t far off but there are some twists and turns.
The opener “In Your Garage” felt like such an odd song to me to start with. For one thing this song sounds like nothing else on the album. This has an early Sonic Youth vibe. I love Sonic Youth and thought the song was damn good and actually one of my favorites but it really doesn't sound like it belongs on the album when compared to the other tunes.
“Mercer County” is much more indicative of the general sound of this album. The song is mostly strummed chords, some atmosphere and singing that’s more spoken word. That style continues with “Summer Of ‘99” but with percussion. It’s very lo-fi but has some charm.
“Moonlight over Manhattan” is the first highlight with the acoustic instrumentation. It’s atmospheric and the vocals fit the song well. “Break in the Clouds” is a really nice song but the percussive felt too lo-fi or something. The tone and textures of whatever is being hit sounds a bit boxy but there are some guitars that enter the mix which help with that. I thought the vocals were some of his best and liked the more traditional singing on this song.
“Isabelle” is another solid song but again it’s quite lo-fi and the acoustic guitar needed some more definition and fidelity. The guitars actually sound better on “High School Poetry.” He ends with the most somber song entitled “New England Winter” which can feel dismal at times. The guitar was pleasant towards the end which perhaps can be interpreted as some kind of hopeful closure.
The familiar topics of reflecting on life in the middle of America have been done countless times before and the artist does a fine job here. Some songs hit the bullseye for me. I think working with an engineer would help his future release quite a bit. The recording quality is varied and changes from song to song although not drastically.
Overall, this is a solid effort with some heartfelt songs. I hope to hear more soon. Take a listen.
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