Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Michael Edwards – The Family Album review

Michael EdwardsThe Family Album (2006, Pseudobook)

So I’m going through some of the promo CDs we get sent. Sometimes we ask for them, sometimes artists ask if it’s okay for them to send it to us. Given the look of this CD case in my hands, Michael Edwards was probably one of the ones who contacted us. Michael has hand-cut simple computer-printed notes about the album (nothing fancy, black Times New Roman size 12 on white paper) and used scotch tape to apply them to the simple plastic slimline jewel-case in which the Memorex CD-R is contained, handwritten (by the Edwards himself, no doubt) name of artist and title upon it.

As is evident, Michael is obviously not working with much of a budget. In his hand-applied note, he states “I recorded [the album] myself using Logic Pro 7 on my Apple Powermac. I hope you enjoy it!” Michael has all the charm of a kid on a suburban street corner selling lemonade for five cents the five written the wrong way on the rumpled cardboard sign.

Of course, when it comes to promo CDs like these, I pop it in with all the anticipation of a judge on American Idol waiting to see what kind of voice comes out of the next desperate contestant in some nightmare wardrobe. I usually know almost instantly if I’m not going to like the music at all. But The Family Album started off pleasantly with the opening notes “The Family Lullaby.”

Next comes the voice. With many indie singer-songwriters out there, their playing is impeccable, but the moment they start singing you think “ahh, that’s why I’ve never heard of this guy.” It’s unfortunate that for some musicians, no matter how practiced they are, their voice just isn’t going to ever convey the feeling that they want it to. With Edwards, I found the first few lines a little shaky, and then he settled in with a voice that was at the very least passable. It doesn’t have the emotional intensity or nuance that would make him an indie breakout, but it will do.

It didn’t surprise me in the least that on Edwards’ MySpace page, the first artist he lists as a favorite is Sufjan Stevens. The influence is evident right down to Edwards’ ever-frequent use of the banjo. Edwards has made an album that certainly can’t live up to any of Stevens’ work, but it shows surprising sophistication given the scrapped-together presentation that arrived in my mailbox. I suggest you give him a listen.


Blogger Joel said...


Michael is a friend of mine... I grew up with him. I'm quite pleased that you gave his album a write up here! It's amusing and encouraging all the same. Thanks for giving him a shot!


7:36 PM  
Anonymous ross said...

I will vouch for Mike's musical geniousity.

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the album a lot, he played very well live when I saw him.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

I wish you might have talked about the music more than the actual look of the album, which I could really care less about as would most music readers, but it's not like you're a professional music reviewer I suppose, but still, elaboration???.

10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the dude is a musical genious! - mary

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's be more of a musical genius, if you could actually spell genius.

8:30 PM  
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