CD REVIEW: Andrew Hanna - Without Blinds
By Kevin Zarnett - 04/07/2006 - 02:59 PM EDT
Artist: Andrew Hanna
Album: Without Blinds
The debut CD from Andrew Hanna, Without Blinds, shows both a singer and a songwriter with promise and appeal. Typical of many first efforts, the recorded results here are mixed and inconsistent, and in many ways, sound more like good demo's than a polished album.
As a songwriter, Hanna delivers a number of solid hooks through the discs nine tunes, from the intriguing, vocal-inflected Stay the Night to the irresistible groove of Safe from Harm, and the Coldplay-like Just Breathe and If the Water Rises. Citing influences such as Ben Harper, John Mayer and Jack Johnson, Andrew follows their lead by infusing a number of his songs with rhythmic guitar playing that prevent them from being run of the mill.
Without Blinds showcases Andrew Hanna as an interesting vocalist, reminiscent of Maroon 5's Adam Levine, at times making effective use of an upper-register. I did find on a few occasions his voice to be a little earnest, trying to create a mood or emote, when it would have been better served to let the lyrics, melody and music do that work instead.
The upbeat, stop and start Safe From Harm, with it's catchy verse and chorus, is one of the CD's stand-out tracks, with an acoustic guitar setting a shifty rhythm, followed well by bassist/co-producer Mike Rocha and drummer Ben Weymouth. Another notable track is Just Breathe, featuring a charge-like rhythm, similar in structure to some of the Coldplay hits. In this case, the song builds, then dials it back for the chorus. It works, but it might be interesting to hear what the song could achieve if the melody pitches up on its “just breathe” chorus, and the momentum and energy continue.
There are some quality performances, songwriting, and nice musical moments on Without Blinds; the inconsistency lies in that too often they don't occur in the same song. For example, Stay the Night is a great tune, but the treatment here is not sympathetic, and the vocal, while passionate, could be stronger. Dance for Me has a great piano part and is musically inviting, but isn't one of Hanna's better melodies.
The production sound and looseness of some of the arrangements suggest that a few of these tunes will reach another level, but there's definitely enough here to warrant getting in on the ground floor, and fans of Andrew Hanna's live show won't be disappointed by this effort.
For more information on Andrew Hanna, visit: www.andrewhannamusic.com
To purchase Without Blinds, visit: CD Baby
[ Current Articles | Archives ]