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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dave Beck - Stranger Homes

Dave Beck - Stranger Homes
2010, Dave Beck Music

Guitar school dropout Dave Beck comes to light on October 26, 2010 with the release of his debut album, Stranger Homes.   The Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter is an Iowa native who spent a year at Musician's Institute in Hollywood before a stress injury made it impossible to keep up the ten hour days.  Beck never lost his desire to write or play however, and eventually ended up in the heart of Brooklyn's burgeoning Indie scene.  Beck drew several of his friends into the recording process for Stranger Homes, including Lowry's Heidi Sidelinker, who contributes backing vocals and banjo on the album.  Beck will celebrate the release of Stranger Homes with a performance at New York City's The Living Room on October 27th. 

Stranger Homes opens with "Alder Roads" is a story song about a family hike that's much deeper than it might initially appear.  Beck's uncultured voice and almost conversational vocal style lend an air of authenticity to this song, building into an urgent please for solace.  Sidelinker is brilliant on backing vocals.  "Undecided Title" is an angst-filled song of falling in love and feeling flustered by the fact.  Beck sounds a bit like a young version of Oasis here.  "Based On Before" is full of meandering angst; deeply internal and distant from the listener.  The arrangement suggests energy and tension that just don't pan out in the vocal line. 

After a great start things get a bit mundane.  "If You Build It" has a certain level of musical intensity to it, but lyrically the song is overly generic and leaves little for the listener to dig into.  "Rooftops" similarly shows some life in the arrangement, but the lyrics and vocals fall flat.  Beck once again serves up a nice melody and flow on "The Evangelist", but the song plays as one long run-on sentence only to halt abruptly.  Beck closes out with the listless "Stranger Homes" and "Go On Going".

Stranger Homes starts strong but quickly falls back to earth.  Dave Beck has a voice that is full of personality and anachronism but is a bit nasal and brash.  This works well at times but wears quickly.  Beck runs through his best material early on Stranger Homes, and fills out the set with generally average-at-best material.  Beck has a really solid EP on his hands, but as a full length album it's just too much.

Rating: 2 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Dave Beck at Homes drops on October 26, 2010.  The album is available for digital pre-order through

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