Jeff Cochell - Between The Lines
2009, Jeff Cochell
Portland, Oregon guitarist/singer/songwriter Jeff Cochell was first influenced by the work of Bob Dylan and Jimmy Page. Somewhere along the way he discovered Lindsay Buckingham and Leo Kottke, and dove headfirst into the study of Fingerstyle guitar. Cochell has become a phenom with the six string; his art clearly apparent throughout his debut album, Between The Lines.
Between The Lines is a confounding album. Jeff Cochell is obviously very talented on the guitar, a notable point all throughout the album. As much as Cochell excels as a guitar player and composer, as a lyricist he is often awkward in his phrasing, seeking out ham-handed lines that simple do not flow. Cochell is at his best in "My Back's Against The Wall", using vocal harmonies to effectively mask a lack of vocal discipline that often leads to being off pitch while delivering the most cogent lyrics on the album. "Somewhere" stresses Cochell's strengths as a guitarist in a stirring instrumental piece you'll find yourself listening to again and again. Throughout much of the rest of Between The Lines Cochell mixes solid musical offerings with less than spectacular vocals and lyrics.
Jeff Cochell has a real ear as a writer and instrumentalist, and it's clear that in the right arrangement with a carefully chosen vocal line Cochell can sound quite good, but his fumbling lyrical sense is a definite disadvantage. Working with someone for a more natural poetic proclivity may yield an impressive trove of songs as well as sparking the sort of constructive tension that can elevate good songwriting to great. Between The Lines shows the seeds of musical success, but work needs to be done and Cochell may need to collaborate to realize the best of his talents.
Rating: 2.5 Stars (Out of 5)