Review Summary: Patience is a virtue
I would just like to start this review by pointing out that Michael Shanks is an idol of mine and that the vast amounts of hyperbole and exaggeration that may stumble into this review as I write should just be ignored.
I can't see any appropriate way of reviewing this album. The same applies to every other album I have reviewed. Certainly, music can be viewed with an aesthetic evaluation of what works in it and what doesn't, but at the end of the day, ideas of music quality are subjective, and what appeals to one person may not appeal to another. Let's bring this into context; this album has many features which will appeal to listeners. The varying ideas throughout the album, the excellent production, the fact that this is a pretty impressive effort for a debut album. This alone probably isn't good enough for some people though.
Let's delve a bit deeper into the artist's history. Michaels Shanks is a semi-famous internet celebrity. He's mainly known for his work on his internet series, 'Doomsday Arcade' (essentially being Tron backwards) and the occasional comedic video he puts up on his Youtube channel. Trying not to be too much of a fanboy, Doomsday Arcade is incredible and you should all watch it. Being someone who has been keeping an eye on this man since his beginnings, it wasn't at all expected when I discovered his soundcloud and realised he made music as well. I guess it's not possible to fully appreciate this man without seeing some of his videos, so you should probably stop reading this review right now and watch some of his videos on youtube under the name timtimfed, or even search Doomsday Arcade and watch it.
Back? Good. Onto the album.
The album itself definitely has some very inspired produce on it. Each song is pretty unique. The songs range from the very laid back Maybe that's enough
to the distinctly grandiose Birdcall
. Each track has a range of instruments on it, ranging from guitar to synths to saxophone, all played by one man, and these instruments aren't just for show, they're played with intricate melodies which connect and hold each song together. The production on the album is pretty good as well. Each song is well textured and no instruments are drowned out. On the contrary, each instrument has perfect dynamic tension making the overall sound a lot more interesting. Shanks also manages to create the perfect fusion of electronic and acoustic sounds. The beginning of Overflow
perfectly demonstrates this, with it's use of acoustic guitar and electronic beats. One issue with the album though is actually an issue with the listener. One aspect of this album that may be it's downfall is the fact that it's a grower. On the first few listens, the album may appear to drag on towards the end, and this is where the album will either sag or strengthen depending on the patience and willingness of the listener. The more you listen to this album, the more things you pick up on, and maybe that's enough.
Giving this album a score is probably the hardest part of this review for me. Listening to this album right now, I'd give it a 4.5, but taking into account that this album is a grower and remembering what it was like the first time I listened, this album gets a 4. I'm sure the more I listen the more this will grow, and eventually reach a 5. The interesting range of sounds and styles on this album are works of genius from a very talented man, but the overall feel of the album over its eight tracks will ultimately decide who will listen to it multiple times, and who will reject it after a few listens.
Maybe That's Enough
On The Borderline
Towards The Sun