John Brownlow - The Summertime
In my past few years writing reviews for a wide range of bands and artists, I have had the pleasure to meet and enjoy some really great and touching records by some phenomenal bands - on the other side of the spectrum I have encountered some plain down, simple and boring as hell materials. So say I was a bit worried for the next record, is to really say the least. 29 songs?! "Boy", I was praying, "I hope this would be fun ride".
Luckily for me, The Summertime by John Brownlow is an inspiring and great record that brings back some great memories for me and many of the audience that will likely listen to this record. The album echoes the sound of great iconic and pretty much staple names from the Britpop era (where Brownlow can be considered quite an underdog veteran) like Oasis, Blur and other older names as Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, The Clash, etc. However, calling Brownlow a rock musician wouldn't be correct, and this album shows he's one of those rare acts that aren't afraid of jumping into different wagons and the way, the ease how he does this is pretty remarkable. He goes from Powerpop (Burn Hollywood Burn) to Bossanova (Asteroids), old school Rock and Roll (Government Work) and Punk (Bullet To The Head) is very impressive. There's really something for everybody who's up to open their musical minds and explore a wide range of sounds. The production value also helps showcasing the greatest potential of everyone involved, especially Brownlow dynamic vocals, in a time where nothing hears or sounds real but rather way too perfect, the rawness in the tone and often missing notes instead of working against him it does serves on his advantage.
There isn't too much of a criticism for the record, perhaps the number of tracks might cause some listeners to not give it a shot. In a time where we are always in a hurry and would like to listen a bizzillion different songs in zero time, this big number seems like it wasn't a good idea, especially when you are a relative new artist trying to make it into the industry and get yourself heard.
In the end, John Brownlow's The Summertime is a fantastic journey through the mind of an artist that has compiled all of his influences into one magnum opus.
by RJ Frometa