Rapid Fire Reviews 6/16

Posted: by Sean Gonzalez

The Horse Traders – I Don’t Mind

Americana is one genre that will never get old. It’s ageless, classic — standing the test of time with it’s soft trembles that bring to mind sitting around a fire. A brew of simple love songs is past around the guests, and The Horse Traders are that beautiful background music. It’s commercial perfect, a kodak moment if you will. I Don’t Mind features four stellar tracks of gifted, feel good music. The vocal delivery is crystal clear, southern tinged and throughout the middle of a song one could easily start singing along to the gentle stanzas. “Hey Carolina”‘s repetitive refrain becomes that of a comfort to hear. The guitars in each track are composed chords with intricate leads winding between them, or delicate swells like on the titular track and “Mark Twain.” The closing track, “Even Mountains Can Fall” is an upbeat swing with a blues feel in the melodies, it’s a nice change of pace from the previous three songs. I Don’t Mind is a comfort to the ears and definitely an Americana album checking out.

Score: 7.5/10

Johnny Manna – The World Won’t Take Me Back

More soft music, but hey, June is in need of some quiet offerings. Johnny Manna is an acoustic artist from New York with a conceptual devastating debut, The World Won’t Take Me Back. The singer has a distinguishable voice (often compared to Billy Joe Armstrong) that breaks through melancholic lyrics. If I could sum up the story of this record in one melody, it would be the end of “The Victim’s Fight” with the desolate world starting at Manna in the face, “This concept of going in circles is something I can work with, something I can deal with, ’til reality strikes and I breakdown.” Manna’s point of the crafting this solemn record around the idea of losing one’s natural innocence as the world slowly becomes a harsher actuality as we try to stroll through life. With this in mind, Manna conducted acoustic track after acoustic track with wispy vocal lines, like “Leaves.” The dueling vocals are gorgeous, showcasing a certain intimacy between Manna and the songs across The World Won’t Take Me Back. “Better Angels” is one of the darker tracks on the record, with Manna’s voice rampant; racing through lyrical lines with a beat supporting his frustrations. Ending on “The World,” Manna comes to an acceptance that there is a poisonous relationship in the singer’s life, and leaves. “You’ll break me all you can, but you’ll never be my friend. So until this torture ends, you won’t see me again,” croons the singer. It’s an honest portrayal of how the world is, and at times things have to be let go to ever make any progress.

Score: 7/10

Bonne Chère – Good Cheer

How about something a bit more upbeat? Bonne Chère utilize a plethora of instruments to produce quality chill vibes on Good Cheer. Like walking through the streets and hearing alley ways of breathtaking instruments, “Antisocial” is the perfect encapsulation of their feeling. It’s okay to just be at your thoughts with the music, even when the rest of your thoughts are trying to force you down. There are bands like this making music that breathe at your natural pace. Across this LP the band takes time to let the instruments have their moments and make their part. It’s like jam/swing/pop. It’s a clever use of making syncopated melodies hit home through corruptibly contagious compositions. The vocals provide a strength to the music. “Love Me Now” is the perfect showing of this, with the guitars bouncing with the drums, a thumping bass keeping everything in line while the vocals ride their own melody through and through. Good Cheer is an impressive feat of creating simple songs a variety of ways. Seriously, going from “I Don’t Want To Stay Here” into “Sympathy” is a fucking stellar transition.

Score: 8/10