It's undeniable that music with a kick ass story behind it makes it better. Before experiencing the debut album Turn Off the Silence of Crazy Fenton, a 50-year-old who had escaped over a decade of monotonous hard labor to start his music career, I was already rooting for the guy.
With its upbeat, psychedelic groove, I was instantly drawn in by "Elephant," Turn Off the Silence's first track, preparing to "listen up and listen good" as the lyrics commanded. The song has some inventive changes and is one of the catchiest songs on the album.
"Sanes" is another solid track and Fenton's unorthodox vocal delivery is effective. He exaggerates his voice and bounces from punk rock inspired verses to more experimental territory.Unfortunately Crazy Fenton loses some momentum after two songs but picks it back up shortly.
Crazy Fenton's Achilles heel was his lackluster lyrical content. Even with an immense enthusiasm towards Hurray for the Riff Raff's Alynda Lee Segarra (most notably in "Vamos Segarra") and pleasing guitar accompaniment, many songs had the potential to excite yet dragged. The antidote to Crazy Fenton's mundane sound could be as simple as a revision in lyrics.
Crazy Fenton is an artist you'd put your beer down to momentarily enjoy at an open mic night, but without much variance, his music sticks as well as snow in the summertime. This is why his album's biggest strength was a modern twist on Morecambe & Wise's "Following You Around," where he's joined by a woman's smokey, soulful vocals. This cover made me wonder if further collaborations with the unnamed female would be in his best interest.
That being said there were a number of other notable tracks including "It's Just Not Cricket" which is spacey, atmospheric track while the digital horns in "Alynda Lee IV" were oddly enjoyable. Other songs like "Monkey" and " Vamos Segarra" had a good, upbeat energy.
Although Turn Off The Silence has mishaps Crazy Fenton has surely laid the groundwork for a commendable second album.
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