Title: New Lungs
Release Date: 2015 Jan 9
Genre: Pop / Rock
License: CC BY-ND
[Ed. Note: Review is officially retracted. The artist has chosen to remove the work from Jamendo, and removed the Creative Commons license from copies that are available.]
There is still space in my collection for pop-rock style music. A recent outing on Jamendo brought the California based Builders to my attention. Consisting of Swayze Fox and Josh Pearlman, the duo first recorded an EP in 2013: Makeshift Seams. In 2014 they undertook recording their debut full-length LP, which resulted in New Lungs
Builders: New Lungs The first thing that immediately struck me was the resemblance between Builders and Death Cab For Cutie. In fact, they categorized ‘It’s Just Water’ as being DCFC. But, if that was all this duo did on this release, it would have been a good release, but nothing all that notable. However, they have much more going on in their writing and style throughout New Lungs. For example, ‘The Clouds Are Ours To Envy’ they have taken on a sound that is closer to the Danger Mouse produced Portugal The Man. Which itself is more reminiscent of reminiscent of some 70’s rock. ‘Elliot’ is an homage to Elliot Smith that picks up on the Waltz style that Smith was fond of using. The thing that transcends all of these styles is the solid song writing of this duo. They have an ear that is precise both in determining how to make a song have the feeling of the artist that they are paying homage to. However, by the end of this release they have reached their own style with ‘Caged Bird’ and ‘Forward’. And that is, possibly the drawback to this release. Too much imitation, and not enough statement of what Builders is about on their own. Instead of paying homage to so many other artists, I wish this release had been a stronger statement of who they are on their own. I get the idea that paying homage to other artists is a way of framing their works within the context of artists that have inspired them. However, instead of spending most of the album on trying to sound like other artists (which they pull off brilliantly) weaving the influences of those artists in to their own statement might have been a better payoff of listeners of this release.
Conclusion Overall I would have to give this album a positive rating. A very positive rating. The attention to detail is excellent. The writing by the duo of Fox and Pearlman is excellent. However, they seem to have gotten lost in paying homage to artists that have inspired them, instead of spending time making a solid statement of who they are first, and paying homage second.