Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Album review: Jarrod Gorbel - Devil's Made A New Friend

Jarrod Gorbel's deep, soulful voice always makes me want to burst into tears. There is something so personal and emotional about every song he writes, whether it be for his previous band, The Honorary Title, or for his current solo work. Devil's Made A New Friend is his first full-length on his own, and while it's still hard for me to accept that The Honorary Title is no more, this album should satisfy fans in need of a Gorbel fix.

Make no mistake; Devil's Made A New Friend is not Scream and Light Up The Sky Part 2. Both are beautiful blends of folk and Americana, but Gorbel's solo songs feel even more raw and less produced that most of the music by The Honorary Title. They are calmer as well, with less of the rollicking energy found in many songs by THT. In a few occasions, these new songs seem almost too mellow, and a few of the tracks start to blend together, making it hard to tell them apart. But for the most part, as soon as this starts to happen, Gorbel's voice will pull through, making the music distinctive again.

Gorbel's lyrics are always so personal that I almost feel embarrassed for peering into his private life. It always amazes me that someone who is so funny and wacky onstage can belt out lyrics like, "Taking me forever to accept this weakness / That I've been defeated / I need help, I need you." But that, my friends, is precisely why I love Jarrod Gorbel.

Overall, Devil is a good debut solo album for Gorbel. It's may be unfair to compare it to THT's music, but it's also inevitable and impossible not to. Fans should just be glad that Gorbel is still making music, and that he's doing it for himself, the way he wants to. While some of the tracks in the middle just aren't as exciting or moving as they could be, Gorbel's voice is the saving grace. It is so comforting and familiar, yet every time it cracks, I get goose bumps. And that's what makes this album satisfyingly solid; the style of music has changed a bit but Gorbel's incredible voice is always there to keep you enthralled (and maybe make you weep).

Check out: "Extraordinary" and "I'll Do Better."


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