steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

review
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info opinion

Bryan Joseph

"Songs from the Summer of God" CD

Green Lazer Records

Genre: lo-fi, indie pop, outsider

Toronto, ON

Mar 16, 2009

Can't find much on the web about Bryan Joseph, a Toronto-based musician specializing in detached, lo-fi pop. Songs from the Summer of God reminds me of early Smog work in that it is idiosyncratic bedroom music, and Joseph's voice has that a alienated, Callahan-esque quality to it. Instrumentally speaking, these compositions are predominantly limited to vocals, guitar, bass, and drum-machine, with more attention paid to atmosphere and depressive realism than to melody. Still "Skeleton Club" and unexpectedly catchy "Up We Go" are among the more memorable moments, as is harmonica-laden "Time Will Speak." Meanwhile, on "Give Her Freedom" you can hear Joseph's cellphone interfering with the sound equipment, which is sort of a bummer, but hey, this album's kind of a huge bummer itself. Which isn't to say that it isn't good only that it's sad and polarizing and more than a little depressing. Songs from the Summer of God wins you over in the same way that Jandek and Smog do, yet fortunately Bryan Joseph's particular style is distinctly his own.

bryan's blog

80%

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 8 tracks, distributed by Amazon, released Jan 31, 2009]