Sam Griffin aka Starlite Aside recently released a five song EP entitled Envelopes, which revolves around an acoustic guitar and Griffin’s vocals. There isn’t much variation on these five songs so if you like one song then you will appreciate all of them. Griffin for whatever reason strums the chords in very similar style on every song. You can almost visualize his strumming which accents certain notes.
This isn't meant to be a knock but he utilizes basic chord progressions that a first year guitar student wouldn’t have a hard time playing. Suffice it say you won't find any type of melodic guitar picking that you find from an artist like The Tallest Man On Earth or Sufjan Stevens.
I have to say there were a couple of things that could have been improved in the recording department, which would have made the songs more enjoyable. It’s hard to argue that the guitar sound isn’t rickety, emphasizing the higher frequencies. There is simply no warmth to the guitar tone.
Then we come to his singing. Griffin doesn’t exactly have what you would call golden pipes. He isn’t the type of singer you listen to and say to yourself “this is beautiful.” That being said he does have a voice that can work especially well for rock music. The main problem wasn’t that he was off-key too often or that he tried hitting notes he wasn't capable of it was that it was hard to make out the lyrics. Some songs fared better than others but you can point some of the blame to recording quality and some to his delivery.
He opens with “As Sinners Sleep” which sounds somewhat reminiscent of Jon Bon Jovi when there were playing acoustic country inspired music. Griffin downward strokes his guitar as if he is mad at it, trying to build up momentum. The next song “Dead Leaves” was a song where I had a lot of trouble understanding some of the lyrics. Griffin has some minor success with the next two songs “Trees and Balloons” and “A Cloth Were Cut From.”
It might be hard for Griffin to hear but if he wants to be competitive with some of the best musicians touting an acoustic guitar and vocals he is going to have to continue to improve. My first thought was some of these songs could have benefited from additional instruments and if nothing else a guitar style that was more than marginally different. Envelopes
is a solid start but have a feeling his best work lies ahead.
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