Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jason GONZALEZ: "Springboard To Oblivion"

Rating: 5/10

JAG Enterprises/Bus Records 2011

Review by Kimmo Toivonen

Jason Gonzalez is an independent artist who might not be very well known, but he has still managed to sell nearly 30.000 copies of his previous album "On The Edge Of Time". Not too bad at all! I reviewed that album by back in 2001, and my verdict was fairly positive back then. I guess Jason has changed his style, since "Springboard To Oblivion" doesn't really work for me. But let's take a closer look...

The CD-R I've got in the mail doesn't seem to have the same running order of the songs as the digital version available at CDBaby, but I'll try to work around that... My CD starts strongly enough with the cool, dark pop rock of "I Would Walk Away". A nice chorus and a vibe that reminds me a bit of Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)". Then everything starts to go downhill... the whiny "Beautiful People" has a truly annoying chorus and a 70'ies hippie feel, while "I'm Over You" starts with nice, moody piano, but soon falls flat with a dull hook. "Dreams" has an interesting sounding intro too, but the semi-rap verses or the limp chorus are disappointing. All the previous songs sound tolerable next to "Feel My Senses Reel" which is just too weird for me. If this song was introduced to me as an alternative pop song from the eighties by some oddly named band like "Echo And The Bunnymen" I would have believed it. The video would have had people dressed as mushrooms and teapots in it.

The good thing about "Feel My Senses Reel" is that the remaining songs don't sound so bad at all. Gonzalez gets somewhat back on track and forgets the quirky college radio pop style, and returns to melodic, semi-acoustic pop-rock. Even though the last five songs aren't exactly melodic rock masterpieces, at least they don't make me want to throw away the disc. Nice, mellow songs and decent performances, although Jason's vocals sound a bit thin at times. What's surprising and kind of cool is the fact that he hasn't tweaked his vocals to note-by-note perfection with autotune. Sometimes his singing isn't to my liking but at least it sounds like a human singing, not a robot...



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