Aslyn

Park Bench, Atlanta 6/17/05

Music Reviews Aslyn
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Aslyn

No one will ever accuse Aslyn of being unenthusiastic.

As the budding pop songstress began her performance at uncomfortably sterile Midtown Atlanta bar Park Bench, she literally sprinted the short distance from her dressing room to the small stage. And it didn’t end there.

Aslyn’s hyperactive demeanor mirrored the colorful, bubbly artwork of her debut, Lemon Love (Capitol). Her between-song banter included the type of contrived zest that instantly makes you feel like you’re watching a children’s television show. But this was fitting because, when playing her upright piano, bouncing her frilly shoulder-length, locks of curly blonde hair back and forth, I couldn’t help but think—she's like (an attractive, human version of) longtime Muppet piano rocker, Rowlf.

More specifically, if Aslyn’s music actually reflected her personality, she’d be an unwieldy love child, born of the The Ramones’ perpetual pep and The Beach Boys’ sun ’n’ fun. For better or worse, though, it doesn’t.

But roaring through 13 songs in just over an hour, Aslyn proved she’s a formidable vocal talent. In fact, nowhere was this more evident than midway through her set when she invited former tourmate Gavin Degraw on stage to duet on a cover of Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Though Degraw was singing lead, Aslyn’s soulful backups quickly overwhelmed his raspy gentleness. At several points during the show Aslyn’s potent, sultry voice overpowered Park Bench’s underwhelming sound system, pouring static hiss through the room.

Rotating between an upright piano and a Fender Rhodes, Aslyn opened her set with the first two songs off her record, the sly R&B pop of “Just Enough” followed by the effervescent but glossy, “Be The Girl.” Backed by only a drummer and bassist, the rest of the Atlanta native’s set featured most of the 12 tracks from her album, deviating only for a single new song and the Elton John cover.

Make no mistake, though, Aslyn is fighting the good fight in corporate pop music. She’s certainly no Ashlee/Lohan/Duff fembot. Still, her songs—live as much as recorded—can’t overcome their diluted pop conventionalities, inhibiting the singer from fully capitalizing on her undeniable talent.

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