Kurt Travis
Everything Is Beautiful


4.0
excellent

Review

by Daniel Davis USER (34 Reviews)
May 17th, 2014 | 65 replies


Release Date: 05/14/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Relentlessly catchy, and much better than you'd expect.

Of the vocalists that have had the privilege of working with Dance Gavin Dance, Kurt Travis is not the first person you'd think would create a great solo album. His vocal range is admittedly the least impressive of the three, and his actual voice is hard to envision as something working well outside of the scope of the genres he's previously worked with. Tilian Pearson's solo effort utilized simple, poppy song structures to highlight the impressive heights he could reach with his vocals, and Jonny Craig's outstandingly beautiful voice carries him though whatever...mishmash of genres he sees fit to call his solo "work". But Kurt has less to work with, and for this album, that lead him to focus on writing catchy, inventive songs that don't necessarily rely on complicated vocal parts to be diverse and entertaining.

The serenely ambient opener and title track "Everything Is Beautiful" is more than enough evidence for this. It honestly wouldn't feel out of place on a Mogwai release, and while it's a relatively large departure from the nature of the rest of the album, it's a perfect way to start off the proceedings. It's impressive how little Travis has to draw from his musical history to hit things out of the park: "It's All Over" mixes "sexy" vocals with a hypnotically melancholic guitar riff with a result that's far greater than the sum of its parts; "Too Loud / Too Cold" has an fantastically nostalgic alternative rock vibe, almost sounding like it could have come from the Foo Fighters or Smashing Pumpkins; and "Desperate" has a relentlessly funky chorus tempered by comparatively relaxed verses. It's really only on "Casting Dreams" where Kurt brings some of his main band's sound into the mix, complete with a cameo by fellow A Lot Like Birds vocalist Cory Lockwood, but the song quickly distinguishes itself when the fist-pumpingly catchy chorus hits. And the lead single "Brain Lord" sounds like the style of predictable, vaguely DGD-influenced pop that most people would have expected from a Kurt solo outing, but still manages to be one of the more infectious tracks on the record.

Kurt's lyrics don't approach anywhere near the level of the potent poetry that Cory brought to ALLB's "No Place", but they also don't bring the cheese quite as much as you would expect, and they're much more liable to get stuck in your head. Vocal layering is often employed to get the most out of the melodies, and the production by Josh Benton and the always-brilliant Kris Crummett makes everything sound just as grand and punchy as it ought to be. "Everything Is Beautiful" sets a new standard for the solo work of DGD alumni - poppy enough to be accessible to people not as accustomed to the complexity of ALLB and creative enough to stand almost on par with the rest of his work. Even if you haven't been all that into Kurt's previous endeavors, this album comes highly recommended for any fan of pop music.



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user ratings (66)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Azn.
May 17th 2014


5610 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice review man! beat me to it

paradox1216
May 17th 2014


484 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I realize that the Mogwai comparison might sound a bit insane to some, but it was really honestly the first thing that came to mind.

Even though I liked Tilian's solo release, it really doesn't hold a candle to this. I think that Omaha would dig this actually =D

EDIT: I neglected to include the stream link for this -_- Here ya go:

http://kurttravis.bandcamp.com/album/everything-is-beautiful

Digging: Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World

paradox1216
May 17th 2014


484 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

haha, you and I seem to review the same things every time. I appreciate yo taste

Azn.
May 17th 2014


5610 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

likewise, good sir

yeah this is significantly better than kurt's previous solo stuff

XingKing
May 17th 2014


10596 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Privilege of working with DGD lol. He IS the one I would expect great things from because he is consistently releasing the best material of the three

paradox1216
May 17th 2014


484 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I hadn't even listened to any of it because I assumed it would be trash. "Brain Lord" was my first indication that this would be anything other than shit, and I was REALLY surprised when it was as good as it was

And XingXing it's true he has a better musical track record than Jonny Craig at least, and the new ALLB stuff arguably puts DGD to shame even though I love Tilian, but Kurt's vocal range is just simply the least impressive of any of them. Doesn't mean he's a worse vocalist necessarily

Calc
May 17th 2014


12196 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

along the lines of what Xing brings up you say a couple head scratching things in this review but it's pre-good and this release was indeed a pleasant surprise.

Digging: Jizue - Shiori

Azn.
May 17th 2014


5610 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I actually found brain lord to be one of the worst songs on here comparatively

paradox1216
May 17th 2014


484 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I wasn't really trying to stroke off DGD with that opening sentence, they just have a high standard for clean vocals and being tapped for that role means you're just great at singing generally

brain lord isn't exactly the most impressive, but it's definitely catchy

silentstar
May 17th 2014


2253 Comments


just downloaded this yesterday - first four songs were nice. especially enjoyed the fact that they sounded different from each other (not sure whether all 12 tracks will be unique), which is good, since I feared it would have sounded too samey

Calc
May 17th 2014


12196 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I assume you guys have heard lockwoods rap albums?

paradox1216
May 17th 2014


484 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No =O

are...are they good?

Calc
May 17th 2014


12196 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

i reviewed one, they are certainly different

CaptainDooRight
May 17th 2014


29137 Comments


I dig the art

Digging: Kangding Ray - Solens Arc

ShitsofRain
May 17th 2014


5897 Comments


material me >

i like the style of his s/t ep much more

Digging: Anthony Shakir - Frictionalism 1994-2009

Evreaia
May 17th 2014


4040 Comments


"I dig the art"

[2]

Azn.
May 17th 2014


5610 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

cory's rap project is actually really interesting

Gyromania
May 17th 2014


15716 Comments


sweet album cover

Calc
May 17th 2014


12196 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

oo a feature congratchulayshuns

ShitsofRain
May 17th 2014


5897 Comments


tl/tc is my fav



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