Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Heath Houston - Cinammon Valerie Angel

Hear The Track Here

It was probably unfortunate that the first thing that fell into the festering pit I call a mind when I first started to hear this was the refrain from Cinammon Girl by Neil Young. I have compared this artist before to the Beatles (a little in sound) and the work of Jeff Lynne and the Travelling Wilburys - a well loved strain of American acoustic rock that I have loved ever since I first stumbled across Buffalo Springfield a million years ago. I see nothing to change my mind on that score with Cinammon Valerie Angel because it's in the right pocket stylistically... Oh dear, this isn't going to go very well is it? There's definitely a castigatory feel to my voices, isn't there?

Why are you looking at me like that? Don't we all hear voices??

Cinammon Valerie Angel is a song about his 'gorgeous girlfriend' (his words but she is yummy) but don't get the hankies out just yet because there's a bit of rough road right ahead. Chaotic from the start, the track has a rough charm enabling you to see what kind of track it could be. Heath says in the song comments that there is a lot of experimentation going on in this song, and I suspect that's true in many ways. He also says he was immersed in the Beatles Revolver album while making this and I can see shades of that album in every nook and cranny of this track. A difficult task I'll grant you, and more power to Heath for even attempting to take on such a technically difficult area. I'm amazed that it stands up as well as it does, even through the rough spots and there are a few of those.

Unfortunately, to my ears, it falls at the first fence, and that coloured the rest of my judgement for a good while. The opening lines (arguably the most important) fail to convince and even noticeably unsure in a couple of places; the voice kinda wandering onto the note rather than hitting it immediately. After that, the track doesn't really do it for me until the first chorus kicks in. The backing vocals come out of this with the most kudos because although they are a little forward in the mix, they are just right - and that's what makes this track listenable too. It's in the main lead vocal that I have the most problems with. There's a distinct lack of the kind of authority needed to carry a track this strong. However, it IS a very worthwhile effort and with some tightening up of sound, delivery and arrangement and this would be a shoo-in must have (a personal preference ya see).

Breezy, charming and flawed attempt at a genre I love but worth listening to.

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