OK, I am a little late with this, as three flights from alto nido was released in July, and I have been meaning to post about it, but continually get distracted. But I found Greg Laswell through a recommendation from Casey Stratton, and that was enough for me to go to iTunes and buy the CD. I will say, Casey has never steered me wrong.
Laswell's music is rich and sumptuous, creating an aural landscape while you listen. There are layers of production, from the instrumentation to the vocals, is just beautiful. At varying times while listening, I hear the influence of The Beatles, other times a touch of Tom Waits creeps in, while others I hear the haunting beauty of a Jeff Buckley. While that is sounding all serious and high art, you can't ignore the fact the guy certainly has a sense of humor, as can be seen in the official video for How The Day Sounds, which I can't seem to find a copy I can embed, so click here.
Listening to three flights from alto nido, I get a feeling he is coming from the same roots as bands like The Fray, only more grounded, a tad more folk than EMO. The album kicks off with It's Been A Year, a mid-tempo song about the future. It is the first glance at the lyrical structure for Laswell, whose words have a more rustic feel, organic and human, not caught in the thesaurus. Next up is That It Moves, one of my favorites from the collection. It is a great example of how a simple and direct song can utilize some complex structures with vocals and instruments and arrangement to just become lush.
The One I Love is another strong song, a bit lighter in tone and yet the lyrics "I should probably say I'm unsure why I'm running away from the only thing I want" keep it in balance. Comes and Goes (In Waves) follows that up, and it is another good one. In fact, it was picked up to be featured in an episode of Grey's Anatomy. The song builds in a classic structure much like the songs of Bruce Springsteen or Lou Reed, starting out with simplicity and building to an almost epic crescendo, before returning to the simple. Sweet Dream is a lovely minute-long love song, contrasting the softness of tone with the masculinity of his voice. Days Goes On is a song that should be on the radio now. The piano and guitar work in tandem to drive the tempo, his vocals picking up a slight manic feel as well.
The rest of the album, just as good. Buy it, you won't regret the choice. You can find out more about Greg Laswell at his official website here. He is also about to release a new EP of cover songs, and is out on tour, so check in to see when he appears near you.