Growing Old With Rock and Roll

Growing Old With Rock and Roll

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Dru Cutler - Hometown (2017)

Written by William Elgin, posted by blog admin

Dru Cutler’s brief two song release Hometown manages to encapsulate reams of emotion and feeling within a duo of songs many musical artists struggle to achieve and maintain over the course of a full length album. The Tampa, Florida born Brooklyn transplant crafted this release as a way to speak to both our roots and examine the miles traveled since we take our first hesitant steps away from the cradle of youth. It is both a remembrance of things past fond and slightly chagrined. As the great American novelist Thomas Wolfe famously titled one of his novels, Dru Cutler realizes you can’t go home again. The production highlights an approach equal parts expansive musical textures alongside visceral guitar lines and Cutler’s charismatic vocals put over the material with both grit and just the right amount of panache.

The title song comes first. Cutler’s lyric inventions have a direct, picturesque quality never lacking in concrete imagery. The clear, confident vocals he brings to bear aren’t without emotion, but he wisely never overplays his hand and opts instead to let the text work alongside the music and speak for itself. The arrangement hinges on the marriage of sparkling piano lines, hard hitting drums, and well recorded acoustic guitars percolating strongly through the mix. There’s an understated melodic quality coming through in this performance – Cutler dispatches the composition in a breezy manner without ever reducing it to pure pop and the substantive values it retains mark it as something different from your standard fare. The equally understated vocal harmonies, particularly on the chorus, are another highlight of the piece.

There’s a tangibly bluesy feel to “Infinite Moons”, but it also sounds vaguely reminiscent of something one might hear from David Gilmour on the pre-Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd albums. This track, surprisingly, bears a more elegiac quality than the release’s title track and there’s a definite Beatles-eque touch to the performance Cutler never over-exaggerates. Harmony vocals certainly play much more of a key role here, but it uses electric guitars in an equally compelling fashion. The electric work comes in a largely orchestral manner – there are no grand instrumental breaks where the instrument steps to the fore and takes over – but the playing definitely makes itself felt in a variety of melodic and dissonant ways. It is quite a contrast to the aforementioned title cut, but the contrast is never jarring. Instead, the pairing sounds like two sides of the same thematic coin Cutler never fails to deliver with immense style and full command of fundamentals.  Dru Cutler’s Hometown is a winning effort capable of getting under a listener’s skin without exerting undue effort thanks to the artistry of its guiding artistic force.

Grade: A+

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