Brandon Trout is a singer from Bloomington, Indiana who recently released Warts and All. This debut album is what I can discern is mostly a comedy album. The lyrics are self-deprecating, sometimes grotesque and delivered with a sarcastic inflection. His vocal delivery reminded me of that song “The Roof Is On Fire” from years back.
First things first. This album needs to be mastered properly if for no other reason than to fix the volume issues. I jumped out of my chair the first time a song got louder by about four dbs.
The comedy comes entirely from the lyrics. There no effects, samples or anything to assist with his delivery. He has a guitar and his vocals. The album opens with “Stage Fright” where he talks about having debilitating anxiety that manifests itself in everything from performing to songwriting. It’s not as much funny but a stream of conscious.
As the album progresses the songs sound similar from a musical perspective. He goes from singing about an ex-girlfriend who is his therapist to about stuff he doesn’t want to do. One common thing I was starting to see unfold is that almost every song revolved around him. His experience, his anxiety, his worries now that he is older, etc.
Whether it’s a comedy album or a more standard musical album the person communicating needs to make the experiences feel universal and shared. By Trout using “I” almost exclusively the album comes off as a therapy session where he hopes other people recognize some comedy between the worry, anxiety and sadness he seems to be dealing with. There's no problem with doing this in moderation. Telling a story from someone else’s perspective or telling a crazy story about Theodore Roosevelt once got shot and continued to give his presidential speech could not only provide some diversity but gives the listener a break from hearing about you.
Overall, Warts and All lies somewhere between a somewhat nihilistic, anxiety-ridden confessional with sparks of off-kilter comedy. There are some songs that didn’t quite make me laugh out loud but did make me grin such as “Stage Fright.” I like Trout’s angle and I am rooting for him but I think he just needs to remember that sometimes things can be funnier if we are all included in on the joke.
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