Artist: Jeff Scott
Album: ... Like Superman on Krypton
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
I’ve spent a couple of weeks listening to Jeff Scott's ... Like Super Man on Krypton, mainly in the early morning, digging this collection of shimmering, catchy folk/pop tunes. It was only today that I realized how eclectic this collection is.
First of all, Scott has an arresting voice, sort of an edgier version of Bread’s David Gates. So acoustic ballads like “Natalie” and “Company” are beautiful and haunting. “Company” is especially pretty, graced with flourishes of Mike Lerner’s piano.
But tracks like the opening “Catch That Train” and “These Days” sound like Michael McDonald’s Doobie Brothers hits with modern/alt punch. “These Days” is urgent and soulful, and the swooping organ and big chorus make it shine.
“Her Only Bad Habit Is Me” is in a similar vein, and it has clever lyrics. It lopes along at a pleasant yet funky mid-tempo groove, and the lead guitar work (presumably by Shawn Hebb) is bold and biting.
My favorite cut (and my six-year-old daughter’s favorite title lately) is the power-pop “Angels Do Drink Beer.” The “sha-na-na-na” backing vocals are a treat. “The Ring” also rocks – the juxtaposition between acoustic and electric guitars is especially noteworthy.
“Stupid As” is bluesy and snaky, anchored by Brad Holy’s percussive drumming. It’s also admirable that, no matter what the musical style, Scott’s voice is fitting and always in control. “Powerless” is the song from which the CD title comes, and it’s a (autobiographical, perhaps?) tale of hard knocks. Scott delivers a wise, knowing vocal.
If “Powerless” is like a big late-set number at a live performance, the simple, acoustic, Jackson Browne-ish “Sometimes Hope” is the sweet kiss goodbye. Reminds me of how a recording of their beautiful instrumental “Little Martha” would play as fans filed out of an Allman Brothers show.
I should probably learn more about what the different vocal ranges are – you know, alto, soprano, et cetera. I do know that Jeff Scott sometimes flirts with a falsetto, almost always finds the write notes, and wraps his voice around some fine and varied original songs.