Lines West is a four-piece group from Connecticut co-fronted by John Radzin (guitar,vocals) and Brian Larney (keyboard, guitar, and vocals). They recently released their debut album Stop Look and Listen which blends americana, country, rock and more. The most obvious comparison here is Wilco. I also heard elements of Elton John, 80’s pop and a couple more genres as well.
Stop Look and Listen is a very well written album but also suffers from some of the things bands who recently formed fall victim to. Mainly, that the ideas seems scattered and they haven’t found a signature sound that defines the band. They hop from genre to genre and they actually sound very good at everything they attempt but also makes for an inconsistent experience if you play the album from beginning to end.
The album opens with a lot of built up visceral energy. I’m not sure who was singing but he sounds like a mixture of Jeff Tweedy and Hamilton Leithauser. I’m sure he will take that compliment. Overall, the song reaches some impressive climaxes and showcases some skill.
“500 Feet Back” is more subdued and has this 80’s pop thing going on while “Bittering Heart” has hints of 70’s glam rock and classic rock. It’s at this point the album starts to go awry. “Lover” is pretty much a straight up country track with fiddle and all. Every song up to this point was well written and could stand on its on but the thread that was binding them was becoming thinner and thinner.
“Easy/Hard” sounds like a b-side to a Tom Petty song. The song is a good dose of dad rock as the chorus sounds sounds familiar. As the album progresses “If You Still Love Me”, “Bringing Heaven Down”, and “Why God Why” were notable tracks.
Lines West is a very talented band who unequivocally know how to write a good song. There is no doubt about that. That being said I did feel like they did indulge on genre cliches a bit to often. Where they were going in some of the songs felt too predictable and I sometimes felt as if I already heard that song before. This really ties into the fact that they haven’t been around that long and have a feeling that these issues will iron themselves the longer they play together. Overall, the album is enjoyable and displays a lot of potential.
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