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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Michael Paul

Reach

Review by Gary Hill

I have to admit to being a big Elton John fan. I mention that because in a lot of ways this music reminds me of Reginald Dwight. That said, I'm talking one particular mode of EJ's – the piano based, evocative ballad approach. Mind you, Michael Paul's approach to that style seems more based in classical music than the bespectacled one's songs tend to be. The music here has an evocative quality that seems along the lines of Elton John's Blue Moves disc. This is incredibly powerful and yet is just Paul playing acoustic piano and singing. That simplicity does the music proud, allowing the song writing and performances to really showcase their power. This is a great disc for fans of singer songwriter piano based music. I like it a lot. This EP showcases a talented individual.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Try As I Might
This is a pretty piano based ballad that feels a bit like a more classical based Elton John song from the Blue Moves era. This is evocative and an extremely good opener. I like it a lot.
Reach
Here we get something that's slower but no less intricate and powerful. It's another that just oozes with emotion. It's actually more powerful than the one that preceded it.
Hollywood Postcard
This time around we get a little lighter sound (at least emotionally lighter). This is pretty and more catchy than the cuts that came before. While I think this one is strong and provides a good piece of variety I don't think it reaches the levels of the first two tracks in terms of potent evocative sounds. Still, this one would be a strong ballad on another disc.
Time Flies On
Coming in much more tentatively and sedate, this is another change of pace. I hear less Elton John on this one than I do a cross between a male Tori Amos blending with the emotion of Nine Inch Nails. You might also hear a bit of Jim Morrison and The Doors in this melange.
Control Freak
This is bouncy and a bit dissonant, representing another side of Paul's sound. With hints of jazz and an angry texture, this is a bit strange, but also quite strong. The mellow cafe music sound is a nice touch. I have to say, though, that the “always riding on that unicorn” section gets a bit redundant – he could have cut that portion a bit.
Struggle
Another powerful piece of music more along the lines of the disc opener serves to close this off. It's a strong tune and a serves to bookend the CD nicely.
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