Saturday, April 21, 2012

Wanting to Upgrade: Thrift Store Jesus by Heath McNeese

Sometimes I guess you do get what you pay for. I have been discovering missed releases recently. It happens when you are a one person operation. One of those was way back in February. Thrift Store Jesus is the title of the latest release by Heath McNease, and it is available for free download through Noisetrade (click the title to go to the download page). I went into it fresh, as I had never heard an entire album of his, so I really didn't know what to expect.

Let me add that free doesn't mean bad. Four artists got into this years Platinum Vinyl Awards doing the free download or pay what you want route (Jehaziel, The Ember Days, Miss Angie, The Rocket Summer). Not this one, however, and it has nothing to do with it not being eligible (It would be eligible for consideration for the 2012 awards, but no on that as well. Read further for why).

I saw the album as disjointed. Some songs were rock, some folk, some rap, who knew what would be next. Now a lot of artists highlight multiple styles on a single album, but at least it all comes off as a cohesive unit. I never got that feeling here.

More disturbing to me was some of the language. There were six instances of the Christian F-bomb being used (Freaking or frigging). You're not fooling anyone. Everyone knows what the substitution is for.

On the too cute by half front, there was a song that added hisses, pops and scratches to make you think it was an old vinyl song. Everything is digital these days, so we know it's a gimmick. Perhaps in the same vein almost all of the songs used a mike trick where the vocals were "fuzzed". It was very distracting. A final criticism, or nitpick, whichever you prefer. Though I am not a musician, it appeared to me that at times the instruments were either out of tune or played in the wrong key. Don't ask me why, it just appeared that way to me.

Perhaps I was a bit harsh. It's not that it was a horrible album. No that was reserved for Andrew Greer. It's obvious that Heath McNease has talent, it is just that it is marred by intentional amateur gimmicks. I was toying with the idea of titling the post Holding Out For Wal-Mart Jesus, but thought that would be too low a blow. I am giving Thrift Store Jesus by Heath McNease 3.25 Emeralds (which is still 1 full Emerald above Angel Band). I was expecting better, but I guess I did get what I paid for. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

P.S.- The Dove Awards were Thursday Night. Due to the volume of the entrants to this years Platinum Vinyl Awards I totally missed making predicitons, so there will be no official scorekeeping this year. I will do a post with some comments in the near future. More time to get it right for the PVA's.