Grey Shore Avenue is the solo project for Bryan Kuhn. He recently released One Man Rock Show, Part 1 which is a five-song EP. That whole EP is simply him and his guitar. His playing style however seemed like he could use a whole band supporting him. Theres isn’t any guitar picking, nuance or subtlety to his playing. He aggressively strums basic chords and instinctively sings into his microphone. Funny enough he actually did full band versions. He released the songs with additional instrumentation on Heartscapes which we will now be looking at more closely.
As an engineer I can say the thing that was hardest to get past was the recording and production quality. The snare sounded artificial in a way that didn't blend with the guitars; there were a lot of issues with separation and a lot of other technical issues. I can give him a quick pointer. The songs are so unnecessarily loud destroying the dynamics. Someone must have used a limiter on these tracks and pushed it too hard. There is no place for these frequencies to breathe.
After reading about his story I was hoping to hear some engaging lyrics. There is a natural range that he does sound good in but in all honesty I had such a hard time understanding his lyrics especially when he goes into a higher octave.
Up first is “Black Highways” which has a bit of an Americana vibe. The chord progression is basic and was used to support his vocals. There are points where the song gets off time which was admittingly distracting but I can say I enjoyed his vocals despite struggling to follow his narrative.
The highlight among the batch was “The Boardwalk.” The vocal range where he starts the song is where he sounds best. There are times where he attempts to go a little too high. Overall, a cool song and sounds similar to The War on Drugs.
They are some inspired moments on “Heartscapes" and “Avalanche” as well. “Avalanche” has a heavy sense of nostalgia and has a really good performance. I was reminded a little more of The Walkmen here which is one of my personal favorite bands.
Kuhn seems like a good songwriter and could be a great live performer. In the studio however he is going to either need to learn a lot more or work with a producer/engineer who can help with the timing issues, compression, sonic separation, M/S processing, EQ cuts, etc.
Overall, I think Kuhn has a good amount of potential. As of right now I put him into a case of wait and see but keep your eye on him. Who knows - maybe he will have more members on a future release.
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