NAME: Aaron English
ALBUM: American Fever Dream
FIVE WORD REVIEW: So sing us a song
LOCATION: Seattle, USA
LINE UP: Aaron English (Piano, Vocals)
WHAT’S THE STORY?: Dr Frasier Crane, rain clouds, big ole Space Needles – Seattle has it all. It also has Aaron English, piano man and apparent beloved of Fox television series Bones, who invites you to play along as he teases the ivories on his latest album, American Fever Dream.
SOUNDS LIKE: Despite a traditional, solid piano/vocal core American Fever Dream constantly finds room to surprise through either quirk or plain old-fashioned talent. Take opening track ‘Believe’, the best way to describe it would be something like ‘indie sea-shanty folksong’. This runs the risk of making it sound gimmicky, or kitsch, or one of those reprehensible ‘joke’ tracks; in actual fact this is a serious and sorrowful song about hope and loss, featuring some well written and heartfelt lyrical content. We then move on to ‘Doves’, a poppy ballad track with gospel style back up. So far so much religious-tinged navel gazing. Except then ‘God Bless You and Your Man’ rolls around to shuttles us into to some homespun reggae, upbeat and backed up by a generous helping of brass, while ‘A Northern Sort of Silence’ sounds uncannily like English is channelling the spirit of a mature Robbie Williams. No, really.
Of course a handful of tracks aren’t worthy of consideration; ‘Peace’ and ‘Pale Saint’ suffer from being generic and uninteresting. ‘The Name of this Song is a Secret’ is particularly disappointing, as despite some sweet female vocal back up, it flounders a bit and fails to pull in any one direction meaningfully. Fortunately, proving that he is a true gentlemen, English deigns to provide an instrumental edit of this song, which is not just a complete reworking of its sister track, but the album’s entire theme – foggy and eerie it sounds like it was sampled from one of the old Blood Siren soundtracks. Horrible in the best way possible.
The conclusion we can take from all this? Don’t judge a Fox endorsed album by its cover.
YOU’LL LIKE THIS IF: You’ve been dreaming of an REM/Don Mclean mash-up all your life. Weirdo.
Submitted By Andrew Gregory