Grant Olney Brokedown Gospel

The melancholy that the Brits so ably put down on record isn’t just a geographic phenomenon. Austin, Texas-based singer-songwriter Grant Olney emulates the heartbreak, emotion and atmospherics that bands like the Smiths, Echo & the Bunnymen and newer progeny like Richard Hawley and Alfie hint at. On standout track "Good Morning Lolly,” a great mix of Spanish trumpets, slight reggae and layered guitars recalls those lonely nights at the bar, while "Bright Heights City” suffers under the microscope of spot-the-influence. "Where is Love” alters the formula by indulging in some dramatic cabaret tendencies, refreshing with its loose, playful nature, but unfortunately brings out the limitations in his breathy delivery. Later tracks like "Lover’s Weep” and closer "Brokedown Gospel” are great slices of personal darkness, but, again, throughout there’s that personal feeling of what bands (mostly British) it sounds like. Brokedown Gospel definitely feels like a religious experience gone horribly awry, with the trumpet flourishes adding much depth and passion, however, people who love to tick away at a list of which song sounds like what past band should keep their busy red pens to themselves. Others should revel in Olney’s intimate confessionals. (Asian Man)