One thing that I have come to accept as a musician is that the songs in our heads aren’t real unless they are recorded and produced properly enough to allow for a realistic experience of what the music may actually contain. It is easy for musicians to think that people will be able to see past poorly produced music and realize the true potential of a song, however, most of the time that is just not the case.
The art of properly developing a song into a tangible, dispensable form is just as important as the creation of the music itself, and along with that, the music has to be able to articulate itself to the listeners in its most accurate form. Now, with this being said, I am certainly not a hi-fi snob who can’t listen to music unless it was produced in a top-of-the-line studio with a whole team of producers and engineers.
I actually quite love the whole DIY aspect of a lot of indie music and engage in that technique myself. However, when listening to Travis Atwell’s latest LP titled Lines of Prematurity, it was hard for me to get past the mixing and mastering of the recordings on occasion. I find that the drums were consistently too high in the mix with the guitars too low. However with this being said, I thought that the songwriting was quite good, and the parts themselves were well executed and performed.
I would like to point out that my main issue with this album is not sound quality itself (although the drums could use some work), but rather the quality and production of the recordings. I think that the parts themselves sound quite nice (especially the vocals) and were executed well. I just think that the overall levels and production do not match the quality of the songwriting, and the songs suffer from that. It is evident from listening that Lines of Prematurity is a pretty, quaint pop/singer-songwriter collection of music that does have some real potential.
Throughout Lines of Prematurity, Atwell does a really nice job of finding a vocal melody that really adds to the overall dynamic of the song. For example, “Stop Short” exhibits Atwell’s vocal flair and demonstrates a strong sense of melody and songwriting. “Speak Out” is a really solid and fun tune with really high energy that is fun to jam out to. I would say that this album has a little bit of everything, yet at the same time still contains a nice cohesion.
"Fire&Stone" is a song featuring excellent vocal harmonies while "Never Go Home" is certified indie rock gem. As the album progresses there is very little to complain about. The songwriting is consistently good and ebb and flow is great.
Holistically, I would say that this is a rather delicate album, showcasing some vulnerability on Atwell's side. It is clear to me after listening that songwriting comes naturally to Atwell, demonstrated by the smooth flow of all of his songs, so I definitely feel that if he can improve his end on the side of production, he will be able to successfully continue making the music that he loves.
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