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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Review: Jaime Garamella - Upside Downer

Jaime Garamella – Upside Downer
2008, Dogburn Records

Jaime Garamella is a Brooklyn-transplanted singer/songwriter originally from Bston. Along with his band, The Spanish Channel, Garamella produced and recorded his debut CD in 2008, Upside Downer. Combining the quirky song craft of Elvis Costello and Ben Folds with the stylistic vigor of Ryan Adams or Fountains Of Wayne, Garamella dazzles with eight songs full of gorgeous melodies, arena rock style harmonies and memorable instrumental arrangements.

Upside Downer opens with The Wishing, a compact rocker than opens up with soaring harmonies and new wave keyboard accents. This song is radio ready today, and would get a lot of attention in the right market/demographic. Tiny Voices has some of the most striking harmonies on the CD, buoying a positive message with jangly guitars. It’s a very distinctive composition that could only come from Garamella. Upside Downer is a wonderful song that is probably 25 years too late for its maximum commercial potential. Delicious minor triads in the harmony make this one stick out in your head. Still a potential hit even today.

Me & You is a refreshing surprise amidst all of this great Rock N Roll. A bleakly beautiful song of love and sorrow, Me & You captures the angst of love lost more perfectly than any photograph ever could. The last track on the disc is of particular interest. A Weak Heart juxtaposes physical heart problems with the pain of a broken heart. The song is a bit of a downer and displays Garamella’s willingness to take chances musically. It is the primary reason why I am convinced we’ll still be talking about Jaime Garamella in ten or twenty years time. Other highlights include Devil’s Advocate, Odyssey and Pompeii.

Jaime Garamella writes pop gold in a musical age when such things are extremely undervalued. Garamella is the sort of artist who could make it in most any era of music because he has the ear necessary to breach the imaginary walls of musical culture and taste. Upside Downer is a brilliant album. Even if Garamella never records again, he’l be remembered for this album.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Jaime Garamella at or You can purchase a copy of Upside Downer at Downloads are available through Digstation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

are you out of your mind? that might be some of THE worst music I have ever heard in my life.