The literal definition of the title of the record would suggest a wounded heart buttressed by something—perhaps hope, faith, luck of the draw? After listening to the CD three times, I’m still not certain. Sean O’Brien and Joel Rosenquist deal out 15 songs that could be the soundtrack to a movie where the main characters stare out rain-beaten windows, contemplating their lives.
I like music like this either in small doses or as part of a good mix, where the tempo change will draw attention to the fragility of the piece. Songs like “Kiev” and “Phosphorous” are very pretty melodies. But even at a relatively short 40 minutes, I See Spots hardly raises an aural eyebrow, to the point where a harmonica on the eleventh track is a breakthrough. The guitarist plays nothing but chords, the vocals sound distant and wan, the percussion—well, cantilevers.
Even lounge music has some energy to it; I detect precious little here. Perhaps that’s the point, but if it is, I recommend a conceptual re-evaluation. If you are fond of pleasant, albeit lightweight pop that occasionally scratches the zone where Toad The Wet Sprocket used to hang (I specifically point to track 14, “Powderedsugarfinger”), this is probably worth checking out. But if you’re looking for something to jump start your heart, this certainly isn’t it.
// Notes from the Road
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