Joshua Hall is an amazing classical guitarist who just released an album we reviewed entitled Between Us and the Sky. Apparently he makes other kinds of music as well. In February of 2015, he challenged himself to write, record and release a new single every month. That eventually became Extraneous Solutions.
Hall isn’t quite as good a songwriter as he is a technical guitarist. There are some inspired moments on this album along with songs that don’t quite make the cut. He follows a lot of tropes throughout the album, which make the songs sometimes predictable. That being said the album isn’t predictable because every song does feels like its own universe. Extraneous Solutions truly feels like a collection of songs rather than a cohesive album.
He opens up with “Ohh Ohh Ohh” which sounds like it could be a B-side of a UB40 song. It sounds like a cover that may not exist. The song is pleasant. After the rather silly “Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty” which has traces of a children's song is where Hall clearly doesn’t care about sequence.
“Vegan Cafe” is an 8-bit style music that is almost so cheesy it works. It’s a song one could certainly drown their children to (I jest). “Run Over by Lemurs” is his attempt at electronic/dance music which is basic 4/4 time and “Green Juice Baby” contains a hyperbolic, emotionally expressive vocal performance,
I’m pretty sure Hall had a sense of humor when approaching these songs. I still can’t figure out if “Vegan Cafe” is a stroke of genius. “These Things” certainly seems to be frivolous. He sings, “Used to have some guinea pigs but now they’re all gone / Used to have some chickens, they used to eat the lawn.”
As the album progresses there are some highlights. I enjoyed some of the tracks like “CuCumber” and “Arcade Party” but hope he never again attempts pulling off a metal/punk song like “Vapor Proof Suit.”
Extraneous Solutions is a random collection of songs. You may find a couple gems in there in this valiant effort that has mixed results.
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