CD REVIEW: Handful of Luvin - Life In Between
By Cyrus Rhodes - 06/29/2010 - 12:47 AM EDT
Artist: Handful of Luvin
Album: Life In Between
Genre: Alternative Folk/Pop
Sounds Like: Train, Rob Thomas, Flogging Molly
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Commercial Value: 10/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: Lazy Men, Kick Drum, There’s no right, there’s no wrong
Weakness: David John’s voice sounds more like Rob Thomas than Rob Thomas
Seattle’s own Handful of Luovin' release their 3rd release "Life In Between" on January 20, 2010.
Logging in at just over 49 minutes, the CD kicks things off with “Born Lucky” a dynamic intro piece that serves up classic Celtic overtones lending itself into progressive rock crescendo delivering lush mandolin licks, driving rhythms, & a rich melody that peaks & valleys its way through fruition. Track 2 “Breadcrumbs” shifts gears a bit with an upbeat acoustical backbone, serving up sizzling fuddle, driving guitar rhythms & full tilt vocal passion from lead singer David John. Track 3 shifts gears back down a bit with “Kickdrum” an easy flowing reggae melody that will inject its infectious melody into your soul as it gently slithers across your ears. This CD makes a great first impression. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical soundscapes reminiscent of such classic acts like Train, Flogging Molly, & maybe a hint of Dave Matthews Band. The music itself is an amazing blend of modern acoustic folk, with Celtic roots with an unmistakable alternative college rock vibe – an impressive combination! The musicianship of this 4 piece is equally as impressive. The fiddle/mandolin accents from Andrew Joslyn are well placed. The rhythm groove (Bass & Drums) push the natural accents well. But the most impressive thing about Handful of Luvin’ is the vocal persona from front man & guitarist David John himself. He is perhaps an major undiscovered talent, possessing a vocal flair reminiscent of such prime time singers like Justin Timberlake, Rob Thomas & a splash of Patrick Monihan (Train) – another impressive combination. The CD itself offers a rich melodic vocal foundation, against a earthy mosaic of acoustic rock with elements of Celtic rock & easy flowing folk. From mesmerizing “Washington”, to passionate “There’s no right, there’s no wrong” to stripped down ballads “Lazy Men” this CD pretty much has it all. Like the aforementioned there’s a few worldly-type grooves like “Kinkdrum: “Bomb Bomb” & “Harry Met Rona.” To keep things interesting. These songs clearly prove this band can dish out more than just Alternative Celtic Rock. They possess enough talent & musical diversity to keep you guessing. I can honestly say I was entertained the entire time, with never a dull moment to be found. Note for note & song for song – “ Life In Between” is pretty much amazing!
This CD has one very obvious blemish that unfortunately sticks out like a sore thumb. At times David John’s voice sounds more like Rob Thomas than Rob Thomas himself. No matter how hard I try, I simply cannot let this go. Don’t get me wrong David - your voice works well, & goes down smooth, but if things don’t work for you & Handful of Lovin take my advice & launch the hottest Matchbox 20 tribute band ever!
From start to finish Handful of Luvin’ is one impressive catalog of music. The music is highly original, uplifting, & extremely entertaining. Note for note, song for song there isn’t a weak piece on this entire catalog. The writing & playing abilities of this 4 piece are rock solid. The lyrics are catchy lyrics, & the melodies are well crafted & hooky. Last but not least the vocal presence from frontman David John is world-class. All in all - “Life In Between” is one of the best CD’s that’s come across my desk this year. If you like Rob Thomas, Dave Matthews Band with a splash Celtic flair then you should definitely jump into “Life In Between” head first!
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