Bryan Estepa seems to have gone to Gary Lightbody’s school for building well-crafted, slow-building pop tunes. The performer takes this approach perfectly for the gorgeous “Aches and Shakes” that glides along without any problems whatsoever. But Estepa steps out a bit with the roots-y, strong, Gin Blossoms-leaning “Different With You” that has a delectable chorus and later on during the excellent “Skipping Days”. As well “Carl Wilson” has, naturally, Beach Boys flair but seems to sag as it goes on. Fortunately, the Beatles-meets-Sloan “Roses” puts things back on solid footing as does “I’m Going” which is Power Pop 101. Perhaps the biggest surprise is how punchy the rollicking, old-school rock/punk ditty “Myself” comes off, resulting in it being the highlight. To take a song title from this record, I wouldn’t want to second guess much of what Estepa does with this record.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.
// Notes from the Road
"Saul Williams played a free, powerful Summerstage show ahead of his appearance at Afropunk this weekend.READ the article