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Some Assembly Required - Dreaming Big Will Only Give... Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 7.5
Musicianship 8.25
Lyrics 7.5
Production 8.5
Creativity 7.5
Lasting Value 8
Reviewer Tilt 8.25
Final Verdict: 79%
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Some Assembly Required - Dreaming Big Will Only Give...

Reviewed by: Susan Frances (11/23/08)
Some Assembly Required - Dreaming Big Will Only Give You Nightmares
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: December 2, 2008

Piano rock is the fulcrum that binds the pieces of emo, melodic-pop, and chamber-tinted keys in Some Assembly Required’s forthcoming recording, Dreaming Big Will Only Give You Nightmares. The one-man band solely made up of singer/ songwriter/ pianist Samuel Brown streaks progressive rock trimmings with squirts of traditional chamber music. Along with hired guns bassist Doug Batchelder and drummer Jesse Magnuson playing on the recording, the songs are like opulent table settings that are lavishly decorated providing openings for the piano to shine while trussed in catchy rhythmic loops. The waves of energy emanating from the melodic hooks are reminiscent of Luis Dubuc’s solo project The Secret Handshake, and the entanglement of vocals and lobes of piano keys have a kindred feel to One Eleven Records recording artist Kiernan McMullan. Some Assembly Required’s release, Dreaming Big Will Only Give You Nightmares displays Brown’s strengths as a pop composer and a musician whose attachment to emo-rock is tenably tight.

Brown sings like he is a loyal mate to the music, lamenting when the mood turns wistful and somber like in “Autumn” and moving gleefully when the rhythmic patterns become jovial like in “Going Out in Style.” The frilly synth effects open up like dainty umbrellas and move with the glittering glow of a stream of chaser-lights. At times, Brown’s singing leans towards a showtunes-stylized histrionics like in “So Much For Summer,” and at other times, he shows an emo-rock pecking liken to The Secret Handshake’s Luis Dubuc like in “A Complete and Perfect Failure.” Brown’s vocals push and thrust through the melodic-rock pulp like a tractor through mountains of snow. He shifts his boosters with the speed of the tempo grinding slowly through “Screaming in my Sleep” and quickening his velocity in “Carefully Folded Letters.” The sentimental-ring in his musings through “The Cruelest Memory” weep profusely as he speaks from his wounded feelings, ”The halcyon glow of summer‘s last sunset flickers through my mind / And sets the western hills on fire where we said goodbye for the last time / Where I watched you / As right before my eyes, you became a ghost and walked out of my life for the second time.” The catchy handclapping beats of “Post Mortem Popularity” nestle comfortably along the classic rock shavings, and then massage into the emo-clad joints and synth chutes of “Hateful.” The songs are mast by rhythmic loops that have a dance-propulsion and rope around Brown’s piano keys with a loose grip.

Brown describes on his Myspace site about his music, “I write three-and-a-half minute slices of piano-based pop music.” He tells that his influences come from a wide spectrum of music genres. His album may not fall conveniently into any one clique by covering several areas of music from chamber-bent pop to melodically chromed prog-rock, but it all suits Brown. He also tells on his Myspace site that “The right four chords can change your life. Right?” It can certainly change the direction of his music from having a showtunes vibe to an emo climax. Sam Brown shows flexibility in his songwriting, and a vision that does not imprison him in any singular clique. He is able to see beyond the walls that hold him in place, and with a just few chords to work from, he can make songs that figuratively can be related to opulent table settings.

Recommended if you like: The Secret Handshake, Kiernan McMullan, Monster in the Monster

Displaying posts 1 - 6 of 6
03:07 PM on 11/25/08
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jonnointherough's Avatar
I actually like most of your reviews, probably because I'm one of the few who isn't a 14 year old and can understand the alliteration.

Nice work.
04:17 PM on 11/25/08
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No Avatar Selected
06:43 PM on 11/28/08
Jews for Cheeses
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Jumpoff's Avatar

Was going to point that out but you beat me to it.
02:04 PM on 11/30/08
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mynameistaken's Avatar
there was a local Twin Cities, MN band called Some Assembly Required that I use to do shows with
07:16 AM on 12/04/08
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TheClockworks's Avatar
i hated this album, not a fan a allllll
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