I hate giving local bands bad press. It”s not a problem telling the big boys that they suck, but cutting down local bands is like picking on the heavy kid in grade school they start out at a disadvantage and exploiting it only leaves the perpetrator feeling evil and unfulfilled. Local bands usually go through hell to make a CD and it costs them significantly emotionally, financially and otherwise, but unfortunately great art doesn”t always spring from great pain.
I”m going to guess about what happened to Brandon Wiard and his new CD To Someone I Know. First, there was a boy, his new guitar and a radio. He played and played and eventually could strum along to most of Nirvana”s Unplugged hits and the Beatles mid-career catalog. Then came the girls, and the trouble. As Wiard shows off on both sides of his CD case photos, he attracts the ladies. The front cover shows him sitting in a hotel room with a girl, and the back shows the same setup but with another girl. Dude, I mean, that”s cool and everything, but there”s no need to brag. Anyway, I”m sure that after a series of these pretty faces told him he was a star as he cooed and strummed “Norwegian Wood” whilst sitting on his bed, he started believing them and writing his own songs. He wasn”t completely off, and this CD shows some promise, but he”s definitely not there yet.
Wiard has a nice voice and could probably write a solid, if standard, acousti-pop song if he would only learn to embrace a wider vocal range and song dynamics. And no one said you needed great lyrics to be a successful tunesmith (hello Travis), but if Wiard continues to present himself as a serious songwriter and sensitive guy, he”s going to have to come up with something better than “I hid my heart behind the glass wall/hoping no one would find it.” The only way I can sit through the “This is love, this is love this is love, this is love, this is love, this is love, this is love /All I know is that I want you/And I”ll never be without you” chorus of “Bad Girl” is with a heavy dose of ironic detachment musically speaking. Occasionally, Wiard throws in an electric guitar or some nice backing vocals and things pick up, but those moments are spread thinly across this album”s 10 songs. “Grace” could easily work on the soundtrack for the next Matt Damon and Ben Affleck vehicle, and “Tale of a Sensitive Male” aptly finds its way around catchy retro-pop, but nothing else here jumps out as uniquely remarkable.
Basically, Brandon Wiard made an OK little album that is probably getting him chicks and hopefully allowed him to get the boring out of his system before he makes his next, likely quite good, record.