Generic SoCal rock doesn’t
Ask yourself a simple question: When you hear a stirring mid-tempo ballad on Grey’s Anatomy, do you rush off to the iTunes Store?
If the answer is yes, then Greg Laswell’s Take a Bow
is absolutely for you. The L.A. smoothie’s fourth album so expertly splits time between intimate ballads, atmospheric soft rock and starchy hard rock that it feels focus-grouped. “My Fight (For You)” is a dimly smoldering piano ballad and “Lie to Me” wearily climbs tier upon tier of chiming guitars; meanwhile, the hard rock aspects are unconvincing—the crashing chorus of “Come Clean,” for instance, feels stiff and forced. Laswell is an undemonstrative singer, his voice pleasant but tired and dry as the music around it. “I get a bit angry on a few tracks,” Laswell blogged about this album, and it’s true for some of the lyrics. If only more of that intensity had found its way into the music itself.