Is it unreasonable to recommend an album without loving every track contained on it? With (or rather because of) Damen Fowler’s Sounds Of Home, I found myself realizing I have, and do – that even my favorite artists don’t have perfect records.
The trouble began with one of the first songs I found myself enjoying on Sounds Of Home. The second was “Where I Belong.” It was at this point I decided that Sounds was a 50/50 album. I not only enjoyed half of the album (which is pretty damn good) but felt that half of the album was, from a technical standpoint, well-conceived. That may not sound that great, but for an artist to connect with a track, and then for the track to connect with its listener is, at best, unlikely. From spending time with musicians I’ve found that they typically try to put a piece of themselves into every song. This isn’t always easy. When a track connects with its listener something special happens – that little bit of the artist is absorbed into the listener’s soul. Perhaps that’s a little deep for the actual physiological reaction that takes place, but the songs that we love stay with us forever. Anyone who believes that happiness is a strictly an emotional or mental reaction need only search the internet for “music improves physical health.” Fowler and the crew don’t get it right every time, but there’s a good selection of tracks that have the ability to affect you.
more than anything I would love to catch a live show of Fowlers…
Some of the direction Fowler took (or was given) on the album can be commended for branching out and trying new things, but in the case of album sales, it’s perhaps better left to live shows or the cutting floor where they can be refined and reworked. With a few engineering and mix changes it would be pretty easy to make improvements to the rawness that is contained within a few of the tracks. The title track of the album is one example of the rawness. Typically, looped sounds can lend themselves to a song, pushing its catchiness, something you’d definitely look for in a title-track. However, the loop goes beyond grating, to the point that it makes listening to the song difficult (I changed the track more than once). I really wanted to like the track with the talents of Tab Benoit and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, but the prominence of the loop was like being hit in the head with a hammer.
“Trouble,” “Where I Belong,” “Grit My Teeth,” “TV Mama,” “Do It For The Love,” and even the somewhat-uneven “I Shall Not Be Moved” are all songs worth keeping and more than anything I would love to catch a live show of Fowlers; I’m sure it would be nothing short of amazing. Check out Sounds Of Home, you’ll be glad you did.