Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep: Sean Moore : "Signs of Potential Life" (Post Records)

Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sean Moore : "Signs of Potential Life" (Post Records)

Firstly, I have to admit to not being the biggest of fans of singer/songwriter albums. As the rest of the world fell over themselves praising Sufjan Stevens, I was left wondering what all the fuss was about. Having said that, though, there is a select few artists that have managed to break down my singer/songwriter barriers. Jeff Buckley's "Grace" is one of my all-time favourite albums, while Elliot Smith has the ability to make even the most pedestrian of acoustic guitar and vocal tracks sound completely heart-breaking.

So it is a pleasure to hear that Sean Moore's vocals, on this debut solo album, has a similar endearing quality to that of Smith. Not only that, on opener "Reluctance Towards A Force That Pulls" he displays a keen understanding of the pop hook. You cannot help but be whisked away by the sheer euphoria of his multi-tracked vocals and bittersweet melodies. It provides a strong start to the album and will have you humming along all day long.

The Orlando, Florida based musician plays in a number of bands, it is any wonder how he found the time to record an album that is chock full of ideas and production touches. The 3 years Moore spent making "Signs of Potential Life", seems like time well spent. This isn't just a musician with a voice and an acoustic guitar, "Coughing In The Clouds", for example, touches on the epic, psychedelic benchmarks set by The Beach Boys "Pet Sounds". It turns from the simplest of numbers into a gorgeous, cinematic symphony in the blink of an eye. The coughing sounds, disguised as percussion, nods to the work of Brian Wilson.

At times, however, "Signs of Potential Life" feels slightly too over-blown for my tastes, the sheer volume of ideas throughout ensures they are almost bursting to get into the mix. "Collection Expense For Conversing In Codes" jumps all over the place and loses focus towards the end. "Ticket Stubs & Spent Love", on the other hand, is equally as schizophrenic but there is an alluring quality to Moore's vocals and the psychedelic horn section, violins and glockenspiel work a treat.

But then, the basement aura of "Visibilty Anxiety" is different and provides a song with a real lo-fi charm. Starting with some lovely guitar-picking, Moore's richly textured vocals emit yet another infectious melody, proving he can operate in a stripped down atmosphere too. It is the perfect closer for an album that literally explodes to life from the get go.

While "Signs of Potential Life" recalls The Beach Boys on a number of tracks, there is number of poignant moments wrapped up with gorgeous vocal melodies, that even the most stone-hearted person could enjoy this one.

Rating = 70%

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