May 4, 2017
Randy Radic, Contributor
Left Coast author, writer and editor.
Album Review: "Broken Biscuits," Corin Ashley
Music reviewers receive lots of unsolicited music for possible review because everybody wants their music reviewed. They want their name out there. I understand that and I really do commiserate with them. But frankly, most of the unsolicited stuff I get is less than stellar. And since I get so much of it, I tend to just hit 'delete' and move on. Yes, it's calloused and harsh; but it's either that, or I spend all my time listening to music, hoping to come across something good enough to review.
Enter Corin Ashley. He sent me his propaganda. My cursor hovered over 'delete,' but some Jovian power stayed my hand. What the heck? So I listened to Broken Biscuits. I liked it. In fact, it's excellent stuff!
Stylistically, Corin's sound is, for lack of a better term, alternative rock. For example, "Little Crumbles" carries influences from Rod Stewart, the Beatles and Steve Winwood. The sound on "Little Crumbles" is rocket tight and really rocks, a la Rod Stewart and Humble Pie. The transitions, aided by the drummer (Matt Burwell, I think) are smooth, moving from cause to effect like cashmere.
My favorite songs on Broken Biscuits are "Little Crumbles" and "Magpie Over Citadel." Frankly, "Little Crumbles" is one of the best hard rocking songs I've heard in a long, long time. And "Magpie Over Citadel's" slender and straight melody really resonated with me. Simply put, it's a pretty song, but not too pretty. Too pretty is liable to quickly become cloying.
Now let's talk about Corin's voice, which is definitely sui generis. It's one of those voices that can be tough and knotted on one tune, but then delicately sweet on the next tune. But whichever way it goes, it's imbued with a slight rasp, like tearing paper. And that's what makes it so unique and listenable.
The usual stuff, like production values, arrangements and musicianship are all so well done that you don't really pay too much attention to them.
Broken Biscuits is a great album. In fact, it might be the sleeper of 2017. I definitely recommend it in the highest possible terms: excellent, superb, outstanding and tremendous.