Neal McCamis is an artist currently based in Tampa, Florida, who spent time recording under the name New Lands and contributing to a band called The Vera Violets, among others. Nothing Wrong is his first solo effort.
McCamis plays as a one-man band with the project entirely independent and DIY. McCamis handles all the recording, mixing and mastering with all the songs written and performed by the artist, all except the last track “A Deathbed Adieu” which was written by Thomas Jefferson in 1826. He plays all the instruments himself from the acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitar, dulcimer, synthesizer and programming. He was also behind the artwork design which features McCamis standing before a field of tall grass. The open skies, expansive landscape and the carefree and blithe way McCamis poses before the camera evokes the album title Nothing Is Wrong. Certainly, the sweeping countryside and McCamis’ nonchalant stance conjures up feelings related to this.
The album sounds like a blend of indie folk/rock with a bedroom pop cadence. McCamis’ vocals come in loud and clear. You can clearly hear the nuances of each striking note and vocal harmony as the album unfolds. McCamis’ close proximity to the mic embellishes his voice texturally. Listeners can detect the subtle changes in his inflection and emotional emphasis. What arises is an alluring aura that will lure in more listeners as the album progresses.
Nothing Is Wrong aptly enough starts off with a track titled “I’ll Begin.” Right from the get-go the acoustic guitar comes through with an evocative vibe. There is a hushed sensibility to the vocals. The recording comes across as loud and clear with full dynamic force.
Retro-laced guitars elicit a ‘60s -‘70s era vibe on “Wherever I Go.” Distinctly invigorating strumming from the acoustic guitar flares with energy. The guitars reverberate with a distilled effect. The track has a great sing-along vibe to it.
On “Old Soul,” atmospheric synths add a bit of ethereal ambience into the song towards the start. The sounds are airy and soaring. McCamis’ vocals come in, in a hazy and dreamy pulse. There is a hushed expectancy to the vocals. The synths are extended in one endless note. The stillness then changes up to exciting strumming on the acoustic guitars. The acoustic cadences are dynamic and riveting. This track contains the interwoven sounds of both the electric and acoustic guitar.
On the closer “A Deathbed Adieu,” airy guitars give off a soaring vibe. An ethereal quality emerges from the start of this song. McCamis’ vocals come in filled with warmth and emotion. A real sing-along appeal is elicited. A monotonous piano melody also trickles in toward the close. From the words of Thomas Jefferson, this is an apt closer to a deeply resonating album.
According to the artist, “What I did try to accomplish was to make an album in the classic sense – nine to ten songs, 40ish minutes, with a running order that made sense as a side A and side B. So that was accomplished. The first five songs make up “side A” and the remainder makes up “side B.”
Side A features the interwoven sounds of the acoustic and electric guitars. It also prominently utilizes the synths on many of its tracks. For example, on “Nothing’s Wrong” airy synths go on to erupt in the track towards the close. And on “Old Soul,” the sound of synths is extended in one long endless note. This droning sound trace the track until the close, whereas Side B consists of a more fuller band vibe with the effort encompassing mainly the electric guitar, bass, drums and percussions.
Raw and unrelenting, these bedroom recordings carry a singer/songwriter sensibility that makes them that more searing. These tracks sound like the type of music to be found on an open mic night. These intimate recordings contain a relatability to them that makes them accessible to audiences beyond the coffee shop crowd. These emotionally soaring numbers will find a place among fans of the above genres.
These guitar-based tracks have a distinctly great sing-along vibe. With catchy and highly melodic riffs, listeners will either find themselves humming along to the rhythms or catch themselves singing along to McCamis’ warm vocals. These infectious melodies will be sure to be stuck in audience’s heads all day long!
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