Born in Russia and now living in Canada the artist known as Bulat released Just Before The Beat. The album contains fourteen songs which could fit into a double album. With no filler and the closer “Together We’ll Be Free” being over seven-minutes long this is a girth-y album. Luckily, these songs don’t take a lot of effort to enjoy. At the end of the day these songs fall into a rock/pop category with some slight deviations. Bulat isn’t pulling off insane free jazz progressions of shifting tempo mid-song. The songs are simple, catchy and melodic. You’ll be singing along in no time.
He opens with “Just Before The Beat” which feels like a long intro. It’s more or less one long crescendo with the vocal harmonies on top of instrumentation. After that he goes into “Surgeon” which is a straightforward rock song. It’s a well-crafted song but nothing too surprising along the way.
He pulls back the distortion on the next song “I Chose You.” I really liked this song. It reminded me of Gordon Lightfoot and has some great instrumentation on this track. “Kiss Me Now” and “Stay With Me” fall into a rock category. “In The Middle Of A War” felt a little out of place because of the reggae vibe. That being said this is one of the highlights on the album. The reggae vibe is more UB40 than Bob Marley.
As the album progresses Bulat revisits rock, pop and reggae. A highlight was “Make It Better.” It’s just a well-crafted song and that reggae vibe is back. The vocal performance stuck out to me on this track. He closes with “Together We’ll Be Free” which is essentially two tracks with silence in the middle. The second half is ambient revolving around pads and piano.
Just Before The Beat is a well rounded album that will appeal to a large demographic. The songs are well-crafted but I thought his best moments were the most subtle and melodic.
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