Review Summary: Avalon isn’t a reflection upon Green as an artist, but merely a misstep in his already stellar career.
There are some things in this world that seem like they’re destined to be together. Honey and butter, the sun and the moon (and with that said, Aaron Weiss and poetry), Channing Freeman and Adam Downer; these combinations reek of divine construction, because they just seem so… right
. Well, before the release of Avalon
, I would have said the same could have been applied to Anthony Green and folk music. With the voice of an angel, an ear for melody and a bucket load of songwriting talent, a solo record from this man would have been anyone’s pick for album of the year. Alas, it seems that Anthony might not be – at least in terms of the genre – the musical genius we all presumed him to be.
Let me get this straight: Avalon
is a bloated, disjointed mess. With twenty songs and a runtime that nearly hits the ninety minute mark, this “album” could be considered an anthology of sorts, comprising of recordings that span a large chunk of Green’s successful career. Some of the more dedicated fans might recognize some of the tracks from previous material, such as the reworked High and Driving
demos (all of which are worse save “The First Day of Work at the Microscope Store”) or the tried and true “Dear Child (I’ve Been Dying to Reach You)”. However, the main attraction of Avalon
rests in the eleven completely new songs that open the record, and to a [much] lesser extent, the four raw demos taped to the end.
With the exception of the formerly mentioned “Dear Child”, these new tracks are almost exclusively rooted in folk. Assisted by the three talented boys from the Good Old War
, Green incorporates their warm acoustic grooves and casual, accented drumming quite decently; this inoffensive instrumental approach does well to emphasize his gorgeous, soaring vocals, which are without a doubt the highlight here. Unfortunately, not even a beautiful voice can save the fact that the music here is – for lack of a better term – boring
. This fact becomes increasingly obvious when listening through the album, simply because tracks three to eight are so incredibly homogenous that they melt together into one extended, cutesy folk song that sounds lovely but does nothing to hold your interest.
That isn’t to say that all of these songs are worthless. “Drugdealer” is a slow, swaying number that combines acoustic guitars with Green’s wistful crooning wonderfully, whilst “Slow Down (Long Time Coming)” provides a tantalizingly short indication of what Avalon
could have been, full of energy and a bright harmonica part that is sure to yield consecutive listens. Sadly, someone should have informed Anthony that quality doesn’t necessarily equal quantity, because the amount of filler here (“Springtime Out the Van Window”, “Califone”) drags this album down well into the dark depths of mediocrity. The very fact that the original High and Driving
demos – a set of four raw songs that begun to circulate the internet in 2004 – are four of the stand outs on this release speaks volumes.
If you are a fan of Anthony Green, then you will in all likelihood extrapolate a lot of enjoyable listening from this record. If you aren’t familiar with his music then this definitely isn’t the place to start, and if you loath him already then this sure as hell won’t change your opinion. Don’t worry though, all hope is not lost for the "scene king" yet; Avalon
isn’t a reflection upon Green as an artist, but merely a misstep in his already stellar career.