It would be easy to blow off Geoffrey Welchman's new One Band Man but it would be a real mistake. On the surface this CD is a mild-mannered pop-ish collection of unoffensive but solid songwriting and musicianship.
But there is a seductive quality to the music here that pulled me back and pulled me in to listen closer. As I listened I realized that there is more depth and substance than I had realized. First, Mr. Welchman is a remarkable multi-instrumental musician as well as being a facile and versatile vocalist. The album title is appropriate since, aside from a few "fingersnaps" and incidental vocals, he plays all of the instruments on this CD.
Much of the material employs a musical irony with the generally light pop musical mood masking the frequently more serious lyric. The opening track, The Trial, exemplifies this. The great music structure that moves the tune along through various passages tends to lighten the emotional angst that underpins the lyrics.
I find most of the album like this. The lightness of the music buoys more serious thoughts so that the listener is not overwhelmed with the subject matter. The lyrics never go deep enough to be depressing but are pitched at just the right level so you can either think about what he is saying or bounce along with the catchy melodies.
One of the fun things about listening to this effort is trying to pull apart all the different influences and musical references that abound. So far I've heard elements that remind me of Jethro Tull, The Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Elvis Costello and even Franz Kafka. All these influences are artfully combined to present a sound palette that seems to span decades; from '60s psychedelic to '90s light rock.
One of my favorite tracks, Is It Okay?, has a slightly bizarre start that includes barbershop quartet harmony but in a few bars kicks into a cool and uplifting love song based mostly around an electric rogue Celtic sound that reminds me very much of Jethro Tull.
It took Geoffrey Welchman about 23 months to complete this project but the final result strongly says the time and effort was well spent!
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Website design by David N. Pyles