Saturday, February 25, 2012

Emerald City Love Song Review

One of the most important bands in the world to me is Sweet Diss and the Comebacks.

They have a new album out March 1st on Itunes called Emerald City Love Song.

Their lead singer and song-writer, Nate Reinauer, has been my friend for over 5 years and he has taught me almost everything that I know about recording music. I first heard Sweet Diss on myspace (embarrassing) years ago right after their first album came out and I was so amazed by them that I found Nate's instant messaging handle and talked to him. Since then we have spent hundreds of hours talking about song writing, recording, the Beach Boys and pop music and I doubt that I would have ever finished an entire album of my own music (let alone 3) if it weren't for Nate Reinauer and his friendship.

I admit that I love Sweet Diss and the Comebacks a lot and I think that you should love them too. They draw their inspirations from a wide range of artists including the Beach Boys, The Beatles, Electric Light Orchestra, Queen, The Ramones, Linus Of Hollywood, Green Day, B.C. Camplight and many more. They will add something that you never knew was missing to your playlist.

Sweet Diss and the Comebacks released their debut album, Coulda Been Worse in 2006 and have remained relatively quiet (with the exception of 2 EPs) since then, but now the band is back with 14 new tracks that surpass the songs on their first album in every way imaginable.

This album is amazes me in a lot of ways! I love the autobiographical nature of the lyrics; every song appears to represent something that was actually felt or experience by Nate. I love how the instruments sound! Nate played almost every instrument on this album and it is a testament to his huge talent. I love the mixing and production of this album as well; you can tell years of work went into this album. Sweet Diss and the Comebacks are making a comeback and its about time!

I am going to explain how I feel about each song in this album below then link to the band's site and facebook!

1. Twenty Something - This is an A Cappella intro with every voice sung by Nate. He sings about what he did at age 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26 explaining how his life has gotten worse as time goes by. The vocal work in this song is outstanding and I can't stop listening to it

2. Never Stop Wooing You - This is a full length rock song about loving your girlfriend. The intro guitar line is sick and anthemic and the chorus is undeniably catchy. The verse of this song is kind of bluesy and southern rock, but the chorus is straight radio friendly pop. There is also a great guitar solo in this song and a satisfying bridge before the final chorus! I like to go "Woo" whenever I feel happy about something, so it feels nice to know that someone else does this too.

3. Maybe Someday - This song starts off very heavy with maximum distortion on the guitar and a great riff for 2 guitars. The verses are very catchy though and feature vocal harmonies that I found myself singing along to. Right around 2 minutes there is a breakdown that you might find yourself repeating over and over again. This is one of the finest songs on the album.

4. Hey Indie Girl - The beginning of this song sounds like a demo with Nate singing into a cheap microphone playing on a kid's keyboard, but quickly kicks into a driving pop rock song that reminds me of Sum 41 or Blink 182. I think this song has one of the most solid melodies and chord structures on the whole album. There is a great riff after the first and second chorus that I want to figure out on my guitar. The chorus of this song is amazing and I love listening to Nate sing it. Finally, the entire song is one big build up and the final chorus is so exhilarating when the key of the song suddenly shifts! You must listen!

5. You Make My Day - This album has a huge amount of positivity in it and this is one of the album's most positive. The song sounds like a Barenaked Ladies B-side, in the best way possible. It's so nice to hear such a positive song. I love everything about this song and it is incredibly smile inducing.

6. Dear Small Town - This song starts off as a very fast rock song about being displeased with living in a small town and wanting to move to a larger city. This song isn't my favorite section of the album, but it has some awesome bass playing and great vocal harmonies. You can also hear Nate's high voice in this part of the song. The second half of the song is slower and features "bop bop bop" backing vocals. The second half of this song is so much better than the first. Also, I notice that after this song every song on the album is about being in Seattle. I think that makes this kind of a concept album.

7. Cherry Park - Cherry Park is the name of a neighborhood in Seattle. This song however, is a bit of a lounge pop song played on piano with bass guitar and bells. This isn't my favorite song on the album but the piano playing is outstanding and the ending has a beautiful sounding guitar solo that I love to death.

8. KMK - Nate's girlfriend's name is Kelsey and this is a grand pop song for her. It features ukelele, horns and strings and reminds me of the Heavy Blinkers. It is extremely happy and I can always count on this song for a smile.

9. Seattle's Best I: Spring In My Heart - A few years ago Nate and I wanted to write a 10 minute long song and he showed me the demo of this song. I was floored then and I am still amazed by it and I am so glad that he is finally releasing it. The concept of this song is that Nate has a dream about a beautiful girl and how happy he is to see her. The music in this song is outstanding and sounds a bit italian. It ends with an alarm clock waking him from the dream BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP.

10. Seattle's Best II: Subliminal Girls - This is when he wakes up from the dream and tells his friend Jim about the girl. The two come up with a plan to retrace his steps and find out who this girl is that he dreamed about. They find her in a coffee shop. The music is adventurous and the vocals are some of the very best Nate has EVER done (and he knows how to sing). I love the idea of writing a story song. I was always impressed by that style and Sweet Diss have really taken it to a new level here.

11. Seattle's Best III: Peaches and Pears - This song is very different from the rest of the album. It features an accordion tooting the notes to this song behind some piano doodles and Nate singing about how much he likes that girl. I like the creativity here, but maybe this song wasn't a perfect execution. It might just be TOO different from everything around it.

12. Seattle's Best IV: My Barista - This song begins with guitar strumming and a thick vocal harmony that gets louder. The first half of the song features Nate playing an acoustic guitar singing about his beloved barista, "Lisa". The second half of this song gets really good, really fast when a very emotional piano part comes in. The song continues the piano riff while a marching snare drum enters. This continues and builds into a rock and roll ending with that piano part playing again behind loud power chords and crashing drums. The song ends by repeating the main chorus of Subliminal Girls, thus linking the two songs.

13. Seattle's Best V: Color of Love - I wanted to mention fact as little as possible, but I sing in this song and so does my friend Audrey Kauch. Nate asked me to do some backing vocals a while ago and this song is the result. This is the only really electronic song on the album and it was very funny to be a part of this album! This song discusses how the relationship between Nate and his dream girl begins.

14. Nobody But She - This songs begins a bit like a ballad featuring an acoustic guitar being fingered picked while Nate sings about a girl asking "Who but this girl could love me? Nobody but she?" while he whistles the melody proving accompaniment. This song also has the line "Emerald City Love Song" in it, which is where the name of the album comes from. It reminds me of Elliott Smith a lot, because of some interesting chord changes near the 2 minute mark. Around the 3 minute mark the acoustic guitar stops and a solo piano plays a variation of the guitar riff. This piano riff also sounds like Elliott Smith! The ending of the song features a piano, guitar, harmonica and shakers with Nate singing. Its a terrific song and I think it is a perfect ending to the album.

Emerald City Love Song is a deeply personal statement by Nathan Reinauer and deserves a few hundreds listens, just to give it a chance.

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1 comment:

Laura Garner said...

they sound like a more upbeat weezer. i like! thanks for the review, i woulda been missing out.