Review Summary: Fun, catchy and sensible folk rock/pop that oozes with personality, variety and depth.
The boys of Good Old War, Keith Good
win, Tim Arnold
and Dan Schwar
tzman, are probably some of the most talented musicians you’ll ever get the chance to hear. Not only do they have the proficiency to write some great songs, but they can also bust out some flawless three-part harmonies that would make any a cappella group blush. So when these guys arrive on the music scene with their debut album, Only Way To Be Alone
, one can probably expect it to be good, but I myself never thought that it would be this
At the heart of Good Old War lies some sweet, sentimental and easygoing folk rock/pop, with lyrics mostly about insecurities and troubled relationships. Songs like “Coney Island”, “Tell Me”, “Looking For Shelter” and “No Time” are brisk, mid-tempo folk songs with busy acoustic picking and melodic lead riffs. Along with their catchy, sing-along choruses and engaging song progressions, it won’t be hard for these charming tunes to captivate you on the very first listen.
What’s most refreshing about this release, however, is how the band shows tons of variety from song to song. “Just Another Day” and “Window” are faster songs with a bluegrass-esque gallop, “We’ve Come A Long Way” & “Maybe Mine” have a deep 6/8 groove, while “Weak Man” wields a slow tempo, “I’m Not For You” features weaving time signatures, “That’s What’s Wrong” sports a country tinge, and the finale, “Stay By My Side”, is largely an a cappella effort. It’s impressive that there is a substantial amount of diversity to be found on this album, yet every song sounds like a thoughtful and extraordinary effort. Most every song has its own crisp, distinct character, and it’s unlikely that someone will find a bad song on this album because of it.
And not only does this album feature some great music, but it also features some stunning vocals as well: what truly sets Good Old War apart from other similar groups is their ability to pull off flawless and tasteful vocal harmonies. Every song on the album has a substantial amount of vocal harmony, and it really adds to the melodic tone, sentimentality, and overall catchiness of the album. It’s probably safe to say that those who enjoy vocal performances will be neck deep in awe while listening to these boys harmonize their hearts out.
All in all, Only Way To Be Alone
is just so darn fun and easy to listen to that it’s really hard to see how anyone could truly dislike it. The boys in Good Old War have crafted a charmingly simple and substantial folk/pop album with enough variety and sentimentality to be considered one of the most impressive and accessible debuts I have ever heard. Only Way To Be Alone
proves to be a solid album that simply everyone can enjoy, which really is a rare phenomenon and a very commendable achievement.