Tristan Jackson is a filmmaker who is taking a stab at music with his band The Calvary. Within the first two songs on Build Your Own Empire you can tell this guy is reaching for commercial success. The music sounds like an amalgamation of pop/rock you have heard in the last fifteen years to twenty years. You can hear elements of bands like Matchbox 20 to LFO and Nickelback.
The music sticks to standard 4/4 times and regurgitates predictable FM radio production tricks with no surprises. You get the impression Jackson is attempting everything and anything to get something to stick to the walls for the listener.
You really can’t get much more mainstream sounding then a song like “Don’t Mean You're Gone.” I don’t even say that as a judgment. It’s just a fact. This isn't exactly Radiohead. Suffice it to say if you like “Don’t Mean You're Gone” you will eat up the rest of these songs. “When The Radio's Gone” touts the the over the top grandiose vibe that has been done to death since Coldplay became popular. “Wake Up Call” is the ballad in the batch.
If Jackson’s goal was to meld seamlessly into the fabric of commercially viable music I would call this album a success. Truth be told Jackson did a lot of collaborating with songwriters like Love and Theft, The Henningsens, Nolan Neil and Kenneth Duncan. I haven’t heard their work but it also has to make you wonder how much experience Jackson has in music considering he is a full-time filmmaker and hired people to help with the songwriting.
Perhaps Jackson’s music will be picked up by an FM radio station and his music will be heard on a large scale. This music is certainly digestible to only the most general of demographics that prefer putting on the dial when they are at work as opposed to exploring the fringe.
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