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CD REVIEW: Rory Flynn - Life In Stereo
By Cyrus Rhodes - 12/29/2011 - 12:16 AM EST

Artist: Rory Flynn
Album: Life In Stereo
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Alternative Pop/Rock
Sounds Like: Nick Lowe, Roxy Music, Noel Gallagher, Coldplay
Technical Grade: 6/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Commercial Value: 7/10
Overall Talent Level: 7/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 7/10
Best Songs: Stardust, Jekyll and Hyde, To the Bitter End
Weakness: Dated Sound and Mix, Winded Songs, Marketability
CD Review: UK based Singer/Songwriter Rory Flynn releases his latest CD “Life in Stereo” in 2011. Flynn is no stranger to the music business having released 3 albums thus far and receiving critical acclaim from many music critics around the world.

The CD methodically takes to flight with “Helium Balloon” a song that serves up driving rock rhythm against well placed hormones and hooky chorus that peaks and valleys its way to fruition. Track 2 “Sincere” shifts gears a bit with a steady flowing acoustic guitar, well placed piano and guitar ambience combined with heartfelt vocal delivery from Flynn. Track 3 shifts gears down another notch with “Worse Things Happen at Sea” a passionate rock ballad that serves up catchy power pop vibe, infectious melody and a grand slam chorus. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical soundscapes reminiscent of such classic acts such as Nick Lowe, Roxy Music, Noel Gallagher, Coldplay and even Richard Hawley. The music itself is an impressive modern blend of acoustic rock, with folksy-type elements, yet with alternative rock aftertaste. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with things like impressive piano accents, strings, acoustic guitar, lush harmonies, well placed keyboard accents layered along the way. Turning our attention squarely on Flynn, he has an impressive voice. Flynn makes the (Singer to Listener) connection as he takes several impressive vocal risks throughout the CD indicating to me a song and confident vocal ability. His emotional timber and vibrato is impressive. I can honestly say I was entertained the entire time, with never a dull moment to be found. From rocking “Put Me Back Together” to striking “Jekyll & Hyde” to the melodic title track to heartfelt “Stardust” to feel good “Not your Puppet” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with “When He’s Gone” the perfect song to wave you in for a smooth landing.

It’s fair to say Flynn’s overall sound comes across as sounding a bit dated. Some of this is the writing but the lionshare of this is the mixing. If it was 1985 this would be a cutting edge musical production no doubt. Unfortunately it’s 2011 so the bar is set really high for artists like Flynn. Perhaps he needs to modernize his sound a bit. I recommend he take his music down the ambient rock route and hire a new mixer who knows about modern marketability mixing. This would take the edge off this dated sound dilemma quite significantly. All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. I fully realize this is a subjective art form but many of the aforementioned issues do affect the CD’s overall marketability.  

From start to finish “Life in Stereo” is a compelling collection of music. The music is highly passionate, uplifting, and entertaining. The songwriting is consistent, each song possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. There isn’t really a weak piece in this entire catalogue. The writing and playing abilities of Flynn and company are rock solid, the melodies and harmonies are well crafted, and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with rich conventional wisdom.

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