Here’s another review that was requested of me, again, by LaFamos, all the way over there in sunny ol’ California. This time, it’s a write-up about Pennsylvania-based duo The GoAround, and I’m working through their album Restarting The Question. Here’s what I think…
As is my preferred way of listening to music, I popped the album straight onto random. Well, no, that’s a lie. My music player was already on random. I couldn’t see that it was a concept album, so jumbling it up shouldn’t matter that much, right?
I was thrown into track 2 and a very wild-west sounding intro, which quickly became a backing for a sounds-cut-and-paste backing track, sometimes covered with a bit of guitar, but always covered by held-too-long vocals. Needless to say, I’m not particularly impressed by “When I Hit The Bottom”, but as the title suggests, this could be the bottom. This could be the worst song on the album, and everything else might be pure gold.
Next up, track 4, “Her Love Is Like Glass”. Immediately, I’m met with a pleasant-sounding range of notes. It continues throughout and I can’t help but feel happy because the music is so calm and gentle. Don’t get me wrong – it speeds up and slows down and goes a bit all over, but it’s calm. Nothing really seems even a little out-of-place. But then the lyrics sort of ruin it again. It’s like they’ve got words they want to say because they kind of fit with the title, but don’t know how to make them fit into the tune, so instead of changing anything, they shove that round peg into that square hole and hope we don’t mind. And there’s more held vocals that, again, just don’t fit.
Track 3, “I Ran”. All of the reading up I did before I started listening praised this song. At this point, I’ve only heard the intro, and have paused just before the lyrics would, ideally, come in. Now, truth be told, I’m almost hoping that this is an instrumental – a concept one like Mike Oldfield’s Finale, but more upbeat and modern. I know it won’t be, but a heavily underpaid reviewer / purchase ledger apprentice can hope, can’t he?
I must say, I wish I’d been right. The music works – it’s great. The range of instruments almost flirting with my ears is tantalizing. It’s soothing, despite it being almost rock music. I can see myself in a club doing my standard “bop” to this music. But the vocals again… They just don’t feel right with the music. Some bits are held too long, some bits are just making me uncomfortable to listen to and as for the rest – it’s just a bit whiney…
But the vocals are getting better. This song is better than the other two, easily, but I’m hoping that the nugget of gold is in the next few songs, because I’m going to give up soon.
Track 9 – the last track I’ll be writing something about – “Sunflower Song”. The intro reminds me of “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia and the end of Coldplay’s “Christmas Lights” (both good songs, by my reckoning). The music stays on par and makes me feel calm and collected. I’m happy. To be honest, when it started, I was pessimistic, but now, I’m feeling a little warmer towards this band.
I can see myself learning this song. Not the music, but the lyrics. I feel as though the song works for once. You’ve got lyrics that fit the tune. I know it’s hard – I wrote a parody song when I was in college using the tune to Slade’s “Merry Christmas Everyone” – but if you can’t do it, you just don’t bother in the end.
Now, I admit, there’s still the note holding that I’ve been getting annoyed with these last few songs, but this time, it feels almost natural and although I don’t like it, I can see why it was used. I can accept it this time. As a friend of mine once kept saying – “I’ll allow it”.
So overall, for my 4-song review of a 12 song album, what do I think?
They’ve found inspiration in a lot of places. You can feel the Beatles (namely Paul) feel the album intro, “Make It Loud”, which reminds me of the Sgt. Peppers album. They’re trying to make some beautiful songs – love and awe-inspiring – but if I’m blunt with you all, the vocals really let them down. I listened to 4 songs critically. Of those 4, I sort of liked the lyrics to one of them. The music was great in them all, by the way. The music is fantastic. I would recommend that they join up with another writer/singer and they do the music instead of the whole lot. It’s what they’re suited to. They know when to bring in some heavier guitar, or when to calm it down or throw in some drums or even cut the music and add emphasis to the cruddy lyrics.
They can do music, but they can’t do songs. But I hope I’m wrong, and as always, you should check them out yourselves before you write them off. I probably won’t be expecting chart-topping hits, but if they get there, I’ll happily review the song that gets them there and see if I feel the same as I do now.
We’ll see, won’t we?
So – conclusion – good music, bad vocals, mediocre expectations.