Saturday, July 4, 2009

Review: Alan Semerdjian "The Big Beauty"

"The Big Beauty" is the latest offering from New York-based indie singer/songwriter Alan Semerdjian. Taking great pride in his city, Semerdjian likens his musical style to NYC - "a bit rough around the edges, strangely poetic, and always in pursuit of what's real." Semerdjian has played over 900 shows in the last dozen years or so, placed his music in tv and film, and charted on CMJ. Will "The Big Beauty" be his big break or reveal itself to be a beast?

Semerdjian has a capable voice, but it sounds a bit understated and lost in many of the more richly textured songs accentuated with viola, cello, flute, sax, accordion, or brass. One of Semerdjian's strong suits is his lyrics, which are almost always interesting, clever, and thought-provoking. The musicianship is there, the lyrics are there, and the voice is there...but at the end of day the songs just aren't very catchy or memorable. Things get off to a promising start with the comparatively upbeat "Your Love" and "I Can't Tell You How", but then the record quickly nose dives into snoozy territory that none of the expertly executed instrumentation, try as it might, can make interesting.

I'd recommend Semerdjian for fans of Matthew Barber, Counting Crows, The Wallflowers, and Ray LaMontagne. If you need a contemplative record that is slow and haunting, with diverse instrumentation that is masterfully played, then audition Alan Semerdjian's "The Big Beauty".

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2

Alan Semerdjian on MySpace. Official site. Get it.

Check out the video for "Can't Wait":

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