Brian Dunn: Examining the Fallout

[5 October 2010]

By Enio Chiola

It’s clear from the get-go that Brian Dunn, who is also the frontman for the Vancouver Allstars,  is very interested in the straight-on live recording.  This solo debut is a portrait of live performances with little or no additional production or editing.  Straight live performance recording is very underused, and occasionally offers a banal, flat listening experience, but in this case it’s a great mood-setter for a record that basks in its infectious simplicity.  The horribly named Escaping the Fallout was made with the intention to justify another national tour, and the material here warrants such a tour.  It is well-written and ably performed with one or two moderate issues.  The first being Dunn’s monotonous, faux male-bravado lead vocals that continuously waver with insecurity and never adjust tone to suit the songs’ needs.  Where softer vocals are required, Dunn powers through with his best country voice.  This false assuredness is played for effect and is often times forgivable, but can become a bit unnerving and annoying.  The second problem with Escaping the Fallout is the overwrought lyrics. They often work, but sometimes they drift into arrogance, the track “Broken” being a prime example.  What saves the entire record is the quality of the songs, both musically and, sometimes, lyrically. It is a well written record, produced to meet the precise atmospheric specification of its content.  Although the moderately paced tracks fare better than the slower ones, there are no significant flaw in the album as a whole. It’s enjoyable to listen to from beginning to end.

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