Music You Don't Know You Like Yet
2008-11-20Some albums have a way of sounding better with time and after the initial spin. Ashton Allen's sophomore effort is one of those wherein repeated listens warrant more listens. The result is that the album increasingly grows on you. The twelve-song set kicks off with the good (but not great) piece "Something in the Sound." While no one song stands out, several of them are solid and deserve their just attention. "Purpose," is a track that encouragingly reminds us that life has meaning despite the ups and downs we all face. The following song, "Promise," is equally compelling and an even better listen. Unlike some title tracks that are often a musical letdown, "Wellspring" is a somewhat cheery and welcome sound that points out that while life has "so many questions / there is an answer / faith is a wellspring / fear is a cancer." Another strong effort is the piano driven, upbeat, and the closest thing to a dance or toe-tapper on the album - "Small Gifts." The final track, "Greenville," finds Allen singing and playing in a way that is strikingly similar to Sufjan Stevens - experimenting with more of a bluegrass sound with banjo, piano, and even the organ taking the forefront of the musical composition. It's a fitting end to an album that seems to work and sound better and better as it ages with time. If the listener is willing to give Allen more than a passing glance, the "wellspring" of songs here will likely grow on them. ~Reviewed by Jeff Bouma
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