Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sean Patrick's Under Sunny Skies EP Review:

This EP is quite strong. It is only marred by a couple of somewhat minor issues. For one thing, at times the production seems to be reaching a bit too hard for a modern audience. That’s heard in some vague elements of some of the vocal production. Beyond that, though, a little bit of awkwardness at times in the closing cut, this is nearly flawless set. 

The musical modes that open the album on “Looking to Fall” are classic and accessible and just plain fun. There’s more of a 1970s pop rock vibe in place, but the vocals at times feel a bit more modern in terms of processing. The vocal hooks are quite strong. 

The musical elements on “539” are similarly classic rock inspired. The organ sounds in particular are both retro and tasty. The vocals, though, bring almost a modern country feeling to this. It’s more of a ballad in terms of construction and scope. It’s a cool tune that’s both more retro and more modern at the same time. The guitar solo is quite tasteful and classic. It has a bluesy country kind of sound to it. 

As “Calling Brian Wilson” starts, the motif is much more modern. In fact, this has almost a modern progressive pop feeling to it. As one might guess from the title, though, there are some Beach Boys references musically later. Those come partially through instrumentation and partly through the vocals. There are also some hints of Cheap Trick in the mix here at times, too. While this is less instantly accessible than the first two pieces, it’s quite a competent tune that actually grows on the listener with repeated spins. 

“Time or the Hour” is another cut that’s more or less a ballad. The thing is, the progressive rock leanings that have shown up here and there seem really to come home to roost here. While it’s mostly a modern prog sound, there are some definite retro flavors. The tasty guitar soloing is one of those. The retro keyboard sound is another. This is arguably the best track here. The lyrical content is more mature and the song composition itself is also more advanced. This one is worth the price of admission all by itself. 

“Apart of Your World” has a definite reggae vibe to the rhythm section. There is a horn section on this that’s used to good effect. The guitar tone almost sounds like some of the more recent work from Santana. This is a catchy tune that’s another nice change from the music that preceded it. It’s one of the highlights, too. 

“You Alone” has more of that classic rock meets modern pop vibe . If there’s a clunker here (and that’s questionable), it’s this one. There are just a couple spots where it feels a bit awkward. Still, there are enough effective moments to make up for any shortcoming. A saxophone solo later lends a bit of a jazz air to the piece, too. The closing section is quite jazz oriented. 

Overall, this is a very strong release. It is sure to leave listeners wishing there were more songs here. Yes, the production feels just a little trendy. The songwriting and performances, though, reach way beyond that. The music and influences here really have a classic quality. This is extremely accessible music that is sure to appeal to a wide audience. Overall, it’s the kind of music that seems to grow with each additional spin. Expect great things in the future from Patrick because this set shows a lot of promise. While waiting for those future moments, enjoy this one. It’s highly recommended. 

Artist: Sean Patrick 
Title: Under Sunny Skies
Review by G. W. Hill
Rating: 4 (out of 5)