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Noah Gundersen


Review by Gary Hill

This album has some songs that really work. I would say that as a whole it's a strong, but definitely imperfect set. The first part of the disc has a tendency toward feeling too samey. Some of that could be fixed by moving some tracks along. There are a couple songs that are so over-processed and artificial that I find them to be "must skip" tunes. A more organic production or just leaving them off the disc would have resulted in a stronger set overall. As it is, this showcases good song-writing, effective singing and some intriguing artistic concepts. It just has some issues a couple places. Then again, these days a lot of people listen to just one song or two at a time. This would definitely work better for those people than it does for the album spin from start to finish folks.

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Track by Track Review
Robin Williams
There is a fuzz-laden, rocking mode that opens this cut. It drops to a mellower, evocative section from there for the entrance of the vocals.
Crystal Creek
This cut has a bit more energy, but it's still moody. It's more along the lines of modern R&B oriented pop music. My big issue with it is the fact that it's a bit over-produced. It seems too artificial with a lot of the humanity sucked out of by processing. With a lighter hand in terms of production, this could be a very powerful piece of music.
While this moody tune feels pretty artificial in terms of the instrumentation early, the vocals are free of that problem. When it intensifies and gets a bit more rocking at times, that problem (if it's a problem at all) vanishes completely. This is a dynamic and evocative piece of music. It's a standout, making it a great choice for title track.
More moody and evocative music, this has its charms, but the formula is starting to wear a bit thin. I think with some different music around it, this would really shine. Here it's just another song.
Lose You
This has a lot of piano in the arrangement. The cut is evocative and powerful It does get more of a driving, electronic rhythm section further down the road. This brings some variety to the set and stands out because of it. It really gets energized and soaring later.
Out of Time
Now this is another that is a big change. A cool bass driven arrangement serves as the backdrop for the vocals. For some reason, it reminds me a little of Peter Gabriel. It's slow moving and slowly evolving, but also very cool. The arrangement turns almost Beatles-like later. This earns a parental advisory.
Audrey Hepburn
Starting with an intricate guitar arrangement, this builds out into a moody mode from there.
This gets a parental advisory. The cut brings back more of that over-produced sound with a vengeance. This is moody and rather interesting, but I can't get past the over-processed vocals. I think it would be a good song without that. I'm not overly crazy about the electronic more powered up R&B portion later, either. I'd think of this as one to skip.
Wild Horses
Now, the organic, acoustic guitar and vocal arrangement of this is a breath of fresh air after the artificial feeling of the last tune. This is the most organic thing here. It's also a highlight that really allows Gundersen's talent to shine without a lot of studio trickery. This is a folk-like soft rock tune, and a great one at that. That said, there is some over-processing on some of the vocals later on in the tune, but it's the backing vocals, so it doesn't take that much from the track.
So What
A moody tune more like the kind of sounds that started the album, this is a solid tune. After the variety we have gotten in the last few tracks, this feels fresher than it would have earlier. It gets more powered up and a bit rocking further down the road.
Little Cup
Another over-processed piece, this has a really odd start and stop approach to it. I find it more annoying than interesting. I'd consider this another tune to skip.
All My Friends
Now, this is a highlight of the set. it's energetic, playful and so much fun. It has some great energy and hooks. There is almost a jazzy concept here.
Mellower and dramatic, I'm again reminded a little of Peter Gabriel as this gets started. This is another tune that gets a parental advisory. This piece is artistic and another standout. I'm not normally a fan of ending an album with a mellow tune, but this one works in that position on this album.


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