Review: Man Rockwell – Opposite Day

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-Vincent’s Take-

If we labeled an album after listening to the first few seconds of the opening track, I’d have painted Man Rockwell as a dance band. But a few notes into “Whippersnapper,” the real rock intentions of this band from Seattle, while contaminated with pop influences, embracing the so called “sub-generic alternative,” come forth.

And, indeed, listening to the ten songs composing Opposite Day, the thing that is evident now is that each track differs from the others, both stylistically and musically and this prevents me from fully defining the true nature of Man Rockwell.  However, an element of cohesion between the different tracks is lead singer/guitarist Norman Baker’s voice; who, with his stamp markedly listless and never over the top, is more reminiscent of English indie bands, rather than someone hailing from the home of Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. As with the vocals, the instrumentals never go over the top. No major rushes of anger or distortion. No drum’s embroidery or truly incisive bass lines. Man Rockwell appears to be trying to build a set of atmospheres that simply floats in a limbo between rock and pop. The guitars of Baker and Ryan Hamilton FitzSimmons Rocwell III, together with the rhythm section, composed of Adam Tricoli (bass) and Crystal Pistols (drums), create a carpet of sound which never prevails over vocal melodies, choosing the path of the “simple and straight,” evening out the hard solos and divagations generally so dear to the rockers (Except in “Castle Walls,” in which we find our good old-fashioned guitar solo).

The only quirk, if we may call it so, was included between the songs, two instrumental tracks that recall even classical music (“Interlude” and “Outerlude”) and another fifteen second short, always instrumental, “Raw Oysters;” which concentrates on the inside the old distortions that every Seattle band seems to have in their DNA. Maybe Opposite Day will not make you jump on your chair saying “wow!” but it is an absolutely enjoyable album that can keep you company in any situation, with its sounds ranging from rock and pop to alternative, which may not appeal to everyone, they fluctuate within an undefined and indefinable space, suitable even for those who does not prefer the sound purely rock.

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