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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Brandon Schott - 13 Satellites

Brandon Schott - 13 Satellites
2011, Golden State Music

California-based singer/songwriter Brandon Schott is a prisoner to his own passions.  The Berklee College of Music grad has never wanted to do anything other than listen to, create and perform great music.  Even a diagnosis of Stage 3 cancer couldn’t stop Schott, who continues to make deliciously child-like pop music with an intellectual edge.  Schott’s latest effort, 13 Satellites, features some of his most evolved songwriting to date.

13 Satellites opens with "Annie", a brief orchestral rock instrumental with non-lyric vocals that calls to mind The Beatles, The Beach Boys and baroque classical styles. The marriage of styles sounds uncomfortable, but Schott makes it work. "Early Morning Night" is an intriguing blend of singer/songwriter pastiche and British melodic rock. "Full Circle Round" heads out to a gentle gallop. The mildly catchy number reinforces Schott's deep Beatles influences and is quite an enjoyable listen. "This Is Home" is a love song with an easy feel and a great vibe. The gentle happiness in both the arrangement and the vocal line are palpable.

"A Daydream (...or a 2 AM Serenade)" is lovely; composed of a gently weeping arrangement and gorgeous vocal harmonies. You could add lullaby to the potential titles as well, as the rocking feel of the song has a calming effect. "Satellite" is wonderful catchy, if reserved. The arrangement offered here could easily have come out of a Beatles recording session, the melody sublime. "Exploding Angel" steps things up a notch, going slightly more upbeat with a vibrant, yet still reserved melody.

"All The Way Down" has a wonderfully dark undercurrent that runs throughout. The sense of melancholy here is ever-present, and the piano work speaks more or Rachmaninoff than of pop music instrumentation. Schott's vision is at once depressing, stirring and beautiful here. "My Love Won't Let Me Down" is a solid ballad with an eerily familiar melody that will stick to the inside of your skull and stay there for days. 13 Satellites closes with the rhythmic "Fading (Outro)", a sonic aperitif that includes drums, ethereal instrumentation and harmony vocals that fill in the spaces between. It's an aptly offbeat, primitive and lovely close to an album that quite lets the listener settle into one groove for too long.

Brandon Schott intrigues with 13 Satellites. His sense of melody is sublime, and his lo-fi perfectionism, distinctive compositional style and general sound smacks of mid- to late-career Beatles music, tempered with elements of Paul Simon. 13 Satellites deserves to be recognized as one of the most compelling releases of 2011, to date, and is certain to grace some top-10 lists at the end of the year. Don't miss out on Schott and 13 Satellites.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

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1 comment:

MOB said...

Here is the video for Satellite -