PJ Olsson: American Scream

[12 February 2008]

By Jason MacNeil

The earnest singer-songwriter has never gone out of style, and P.J. Olsson knows it will probably never change. His new venture is another safe but steady journey through singer-songwriter gems beginning with the uplifting panache of “A Million Stars”—this despite the fact some talk-box or vocoder used in the bridge makes it more like Daft Punk, albeit briefly. Keeping the upbeat, pop-folk feel is “The Minute’s Gone”, another radio-friendly, John Mayer-ish ditty. Olsson also seems to rip off Violent Femmes a lot with the riff of the band’s “Blister in the Sun” basically making the foundation of “Mother Honey”. Some of the material is good but not the type you could recall the following day or even maybe the following hour for that matter, especially “Rain Song” and the exhaustive “Morning Girl” that brings to mind Cat Stevens or Crosby, Stills and Nash. Perhaps the highlight of the album is “No Place To Go” which doesn’t sound overly produced or slick, just a musician fusing some strong lyrics with a stronger sense of melody. Another keeper is “The Dream” which has Olsson performing alone with his acoustic guitar and in a deeper timbre than usual.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/pj-olsson-american-scream/