Sunday, 27 April 2008

Review: Mr. Rascal - Let It Roll

Let It Roll is the first release from Mr Rascal, the creative vehicle of Christian Duell, and the lead single and two demos on show are a good indication of the quality music Mr Rascal's forthcoming debut album is sure to provide.

'Let It Roll' is an uplifting folk-rock number, with a driving rhythm section, dueling guitars, banjoes, violin, and the prerequisite use of organ necessary to complete such a song. The attraction of 'Let It Roll' is not in the instrumental prowess of Mr Rascal, however, rather it's in the amazing use of melody and harmony, as well as Duell's touching lyrics. The combination of opposing high and low vocal harmonies, Duell's own vocals, and the ever present organ results in a song that sounds absolutely massive for the folk song that it is.

The two demo songs are a little more stripped back, but neither lack the impact of 'Let It Roll'. 'Hands Tied' is especially impressive, with the acoustic guitar and harmonica perfectly matching Duell's vocals. 'Hands Tied' also evokes the style of the late singer-songwriter Elliott Smith, but whereas Smith matched uplifting melodies with rather depressing lyricism, Duell goes the other way and combines melancholic music with lyrics that are brimming with positivity. 'The Schoolyard' follows in the same vein, cutting back the sonic side of things to a greater exten while maintaining the harmonies. In this case though the song is a little to bare, although in all fairness the song is billed as a demo and must be treated as a work in progress.

Indeed Let It Roll is a strong indication of what to expect from Mr. Rascal's forthcoming debut LP A Pocketful Of Smoke. The straightforward singer-songwriter harmonies grab the listener and refuse to let go until the song has run its course. Hopefully Duell can keep up the level of quality he has set for himself with this debut release.

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