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CD REVIEW: Garrett Sawyer – “Anthem”
By Stacey Board - 03/23/2003 - 04:02 PM EST

Artist: Garrett Sawyer
Album: “Anthem”
CD Review: An anthem, in my computer’s dictionary anyway, is defined as a song of praise. This CD is not so much a collection of songs that praise so much as it is full of songs that raise issues of injustice, point out hypocrisy, and express the angst we all feel from time to time in our everyday life.

Sawyer’s songs do this all with a large sense of humor and irony. The lyrics he writes are often based in fantasy imagery that convey his message. For example, in “The Waiting Game” he writes ‘This raft could use a sail, this ocean a buoy or two/My best friend’s the local seagull. My torturer’s a wristwatch’.

The arrangements are largely Sawyer on guitars and vocals and synthesized percussion, keyboards and strings. I very much enjoyed Sawyer’s guitar playing, especially some really nice work on ‘The Lean Season’. Personally I thought in a few places some of the synthesized string sounds could have been left out and would not have been missed. The material is very heartfelt and a small portion of the synth sounds, although filling out the overall sound, left an artificial taste in my mouth that didn’t seem to fit the material.

Sawyer’s lyrics and pacing of lyrics are intense. This is not a soothing ‘background during dinner’ CD because it is meant to be thought provoking. Sawyer successfully infuses the music with the intensity of the emotions he is expressing. He has a pleasant voice and knows when to growl, when to be smooth. Sawyer is a talented writer and guitarist with a very unique lyrical style.

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