Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Review: Jeff Litman "Postscript"

Jeff Litman's musical tastes range from Johann Sebastian Bach to Skid Row's Sebastain Bach. After graduating from the IU jazz program, Litman obtained a masters in classical guitar performance and was on his way to completing a doctorate in classical music before returning to the melody-driven rock that he loved in his youth.

While his musical influences run the gamut, Litman is very focused on hook-laden power pop for his debut release "Postscript", which is a tour across the minefield of a failed relationship. Litman states that others have compared his music to Matthew Sweet, Elvis Costello, and Jason Falkner. There is a clear vocal resemblence to these artists, but to my ears he sounds a lot like Michael Penn or David Gray of the Idle Wilds. Muscially, Litman is a master of numerous shades of power pop - he does plenty of Byrds-like jangle pop, some delicate singer/songwriter pieces, and throws in a hint of garage pop not unlike The Replacements. "Let You Go" and "Detroit Lawyer", for example, both have a definite Paul Westerberg vibe.

Litman recruited a great team to record "Postscript" - the sonic quality of the CD speaks for itself (produced by Andy Thompson and Litman). His experience in classical music adds a wonderful dimension to his songs, as many are seasoned with flute, cello, violin, or fugelhorn. In addition, powerpop princess Kelly Jones, whose CD we loved in 2008, joins in the fun, sharing lines with Litman on the folky "Maine".

The entire disc is strong from start to finish, but highlights for me included the upbeat numbers, "Anna", "Everything You're Not", and "Detroit Lawyer". "Postscript" is a clear contender for one of the best melodic rock discs of the year.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 10

Jeff Litman on MySpace. Official site.

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