Welcome Familiar to my knowledge is a solo project. His latest release Mean Nothing is a nine-song album of well-written indie pop songs. The one element that kept on sticking out to me was his vocals. Don’t get me wrong the music isn’t too shabby but nothing jaw dropping. However the vocals were the anchor that gives this artist an edge.
Most of the songs are fuzzy and built off a warm bed of distortion from a guitar while other instruments like bass and drums feel almost marginal in comparison. The album starts off strong with “Could Let You.” It starts with strummed guitar chords and vocals. His voice is warm and inviting as he sings, “If I could let you go.” I thought the song benefited from being rather minimal. It revolves guitar, bass and vocals. He could have easily added drums to this mix but his decision to leave them out was a good one.
The same can’t be said for the second track “Try” which kicks right off with drums, bass and guitar in full effect. “Try” is unequivocally one of the highlights on the album. The vocal melody is extremely catchy making this song one he will want to get into as many ears as possible. “Cross” has a little less energy and more melancholy. That doesn’t mean it wasn't a good song. In fact the first three songs are arguably the strongest on the album.
“Lourdes” while a decent song wasn’t quite as well written as the previous tracks. He gets back on track with “Ten.” His vocals are up front in the mix and is easily one of his best performances. I think I would have preferred the song if it was kept minimal instead of exploding into a rocking, grandiose second section. That being said the song is still very good regardless.
The last two tracks on the album are highlights. “Somewhere Beneath The Waves” starts off as an intricate acoustic guitar picking. I thought it sounded great and hope he continues to explore more acoustic based music. The closer “Everyone Is the Killer” is an intense nine-plus-minute rock. I’ll just let you listen to this one.
Mean Nothing is a solid album. The songwriting is good but the vocals are better. That sounds like a winning combo to me.
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