By Devin Morse
Chad Golda’s Book of Songs sounds a little like The Shins might if they played a coffeehouse set after drinking a bottle of cough syrup.
Dreamy, lackadaisical and basic, this singer-songwriter creates vocal drones over a spaced-out, acoustic guitar-driven backdrop of G, C, and A Minor chords. With little-to-no melodic input, the songs would be nearly indistinguishable from one another if they didn’t involve a few changes in instrumentation.
Indeed, the track “All This Matters” is exemplary of the entire album. The song’s centerpiece and most tangible aspect is a Tears For Fears-inspired piano motif. The vocals mock themselves with a complete lack of melody; a breathy, monotone quality (literally one note) that can only be compared to Gregorian Chant.
Beyond this, the swirling mix of snare drum, acoustic guitar, and reverb leave little for the listener to grasp.
The song “Something You Can Understand” is a little more upbeat, with a sound reminiscent of the Violent Femmes. Still, Golda seems to make a point of forgoing melody, with the entire vocal track consisting of two or three husky, almost-whispered notes.
Overall, Book of Songs lacks the musical spunk to keep a listener involved. There are no crescendos or refrains, very few rhythm changes, minimal melody, and little excitement.
Of course, I can only speak from my own critical standpoint and musical tastes. Surely, there is a group of people somewhere who would be blown away by this album.