Tuesday , February 27 2024

CD Review: Griffin House, Lost & Found

The spacious, airy song “Amsterdam,” which opens Griffin House’s CD Lost & Found, announces that we’re in serious, sensitive-guy territory.  But though the tune recalls Sting’s “Why Should I Cry For You”, House has an earthy, pop-Americana style that ought to stand him in good stead in a mileu where John Mayer and House’s labelmate Sara McLachlan earn loyal audiences.

At twenty-four House has a butter-melting if not quite fully baked voice that resembles Jakob Dylan’s, and he’s already a master of melody: “Ah Me” and “Tell Me a Lie,” both instant earworms, are probably already turning curly-haired lasses everywhere to mush.

The torchy “Waterfall” with its gorgeous falsetto strokes makes a nice change from the preceding, more folky beats; even when less melodically inventive, House sings straight from his heart to the listener’s; his musicality and emotionality stay in near-perfect balance.  But the second half of the CD is too weighted with slow, contemplative songs for my taste; taken together they’re a bit of a letdown after the opening tracks’ high energy.

“The Way I Was Made” is a bouncy exception, a winning if unremarkable ancestral-pride song: “It feels so good to have your blood in my veins.”  And in the lovely, quiet “Why Won’t You Believe,” House takes a risk, lamenting a parent’s rejection of a son’s religious conversion.  Then he further develops the theme in the intense “Just a Dream” wherein the singer tries to reconcile newfound faith with the resulting sense of separation from loved ones:

All you are now is only just a dream
Can you fall down in following me?
And I’ve been here with the pain
Since the very first day
I’ve been swearing in my rage
“Oh Holy Day!”
I sit around, your salvation waits

This reviewer, though a confirmed atheist, can’t help respecting a religious man who can not only admit to rage and confusion but can put it into sweet music that rings universal human bells.  When the gospelly seven-minute closer, “New Day,” explodes into a U2-like midtempo rave-up, it’s biology, not ever-questioning intellect, that will get feet tapping and faces smiling.

About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is Publisher and Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Music, where he covers classical music (old and new) and other genres, and Culture, where he reviews NYC theater. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting at http://www.orenhope.com/ you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. Jon also writes the blog Park Odyssey at http://parkodyssey.blogspot.com/ where he is on a mission to visit every park in New York City. He has also been a part-time working musician, including as lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado.

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