Monday, August 23, 2010

Review: Brady Harris "Year of the Pug"

If you ever wondered what Lennon and McCartney might have sounded like if they embraced roots rock, wonder no more...many claim that is pretty much what Brady Harris sounds like.

Harris is originally from Texas and used to front the band Solid Goldsteins. In his solo work, Harris is carving out a niche for himself by merging country-tinged roots rock to pop rock. His latest effort, "Year of the Pug", follows the acclaimed "North Hollywood Skyline" from 2006. He's toured extensively, "from Portland to Paris, Liverpool to Texas, and a few other places, too". Notably, Harris released an album of reworked cover tunes in 2007 called "Cover Charge". Some of the artists covered on this record are no surprise (like The Beatles), but most of them are very unexpected for Harris to do in his style(Madonna, The Vines, and Motorhead...yes, Motorhead). To hear these familiar tunes revamped in a countrified, organic style is original, entertaining, and - at times - rather amusing.

"Year of the Pug", his sixth album, finds Harris in top form, sounding at home in the Americana genre. The performances on the album are solid and his warm baritone radiates through the music. Generally, the record is laid back with country-tinged tunes that hit the ears lightly. There is a lot to like here, but I'm not finding a lot to love. Good melodies, an adequate voice, decent playing...not much to complain about but then again not anything tremendously special. One of the standout tracks, "Floating", is also one of the clearest examples of the Lennon influence imbuing the music of Brady Harris. "Little Miss Mourning" has a cool lyric, put to good use in a tune that features a silky lead snaking through breezy acoustic guitars. There is a bit of Elliot Smith channeled in the pretty ballad "Stars Shine Bright", and plenty more Beatles coming through in the lovely "That's All I Need". If you like John Lennon, Michael Penn, and Venice, you should give Brady Harris a shot.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 3, 5, 9

Brady Harris on MySpace. Official site.

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