Review Summary: Let me introduce to you the one and only Littlest Man Band. To the story of a boy and his friends, entitled “Better Book Ends”
If you’ve heard of Reel Big Fish, you’ve heard of Scott Klopfenstein. The man does everything for RBF, from his main role as a trumpet player, to playing guitar, to playing piano, to backup (and sometimes lead) vocals. Some people actually consider him the heart and soul of RBF, even more so than front man Aaron Barrett (which is arguable). However, on Better Book Ends
, little Scotty Klopfenstein goes off on his own, and he pulls it off well.
From the first song, simply titled “Intro,”
you should know that you’re in for a treat. Scott is the lead of this band, which also features Dan Regan (trombone) from Reel Big Fish. However, with Scott as the front man, do not expect this to sound like Reel Big Fish. There may be horns, and Scott’s voice, but that is about as far as the similarities go. Indeed, the whole album has a melancholy feel to it, and never really gets very up tempo at all. In fact, most of the songs are pretty slow, but if you give it a listen, you will soon be able to tell that this is not a bad thing at all, as the band keeps itself in check at all times, producing some great music.
This is kind of a hard CD to classify in terms of genre. I’d call it Jazz/Blues, but really, a term that comes to mind is Lounge. It’s lounge music, something that you would listen to sitting in the bar of a ritzy hotel, listening to the band wail away in the background, and you’d always want to keep an ear on them. Many of the songs have to do with relationships, such as “Stayed Away Too Long,”
which features a very nice bridge made up of vocalizing, trumpet and piano. “Sunshine”
is a very mellow song, again about an ended relationship, but Scott shows off his songwriting talent here with some good lyrics.
“Give me your sunshine“Better Man”
Give me what’s rightfully mine
And if I get lost, you’ve got to give me some time
Because I’m looking for your sunshine.”
is another melancholy song, made up only of vocals, trombone and guitar. It’s a very introspective song, and the choice of instrumentation makes it a very intimate experience. "Bad That is Beautiful"
is another slow song, a very slow tempo, but it manages to keep you interested throughout.
But don’t go thinking the LMB is only dour and down key. On songs such as “It’s You,”
the energy picks up, as does the optimism, and the CD ends leaving you feeling good. “Stayed Away Too Long,”
a song about a man who suspects his wife of foul play (per se) maintains a playful feeling despite its serious content.
However, as pointed out, Scott is the frontman of this band. Which unfortunately amounts in too much Scott at some points. “Happened Again”
is the best example of this, with Scott layering his vocals all over the place. Low-pitched humming, high-pitched scatting, and his regular voice singing makes you want him to take a step back, a feeling you might get listening to this entire CD, as all vocals are provided by Scott, and they are all over the place. He may be proud of his work, but it seems a little oversaturated at some points.
Despite that, however, Better Book Ends
is a roller coaster of tempos and emotions, but will leave you feeling good by the time it ends. If you’re a fan of Scotty, I highly suggest checking out this album.