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Bryan Estepa

All The Bells And Whistles

(Popboomerang; US: Available as import; UK: Available as import; Australia release date: 2 Oct 2006)

Aussie artist Bryan Estepa sounds like he’s grown up on a healthy dose of The Jayhawks and Uncle Tupelo if “By the Window” is a benchmark. Country-rock is his bread and butter, which nails the opener and the John Mellencamp-meets-Paul Westerberg roots rock flavored “Your Best Night” perfectly. Estepa also has that summery, California pop in his blood on “Western Tale”, sounding like Weezer-lite or The Rembrandts before it takes a soulful, doo-wop dip. Perhaps the first real heart-tugging nugget is the softer, Ryan Adams-ish “Come Around” that Estepa shines on. The same can be said for “Sunshine” that has equal parts Beatles and Travis. Not everything he touches turns to gold however, especially on the rather mundane, sullen “Cards & A.M. Radio”. He makes up for it with the sweet mid-tempo, highbrow pop tune “Open Letter” and also with the ambling toe-tapper “Falling Through”.

Rating:

Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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