By Baxter Trappe
Baxter Trappe, the man with the bizarre name (if it's real that is) is a one man band, complete with heartfelt lyrics and armed only with an acoustic guitar.
On this, his latest effort, he yelps and strums his way through five songs, all sparse and simple. There's very little in the way of studio trickery, there's no backing band, and there's very few overdubs. It's all voice and guitar, which makes this a particularly one-dimensional listen.
Standout tracks include the furious opener 'At The Seaside, She Saw' and the jaunty 'Truth And Lies'. In between, there are short little ditties, big ballads and precise harmonies going on, which is nice.
However, due to the lack of pretty much any instrumentation, bar the acoustic and vocals, it's all a little muddled. His press release cites Neil Young, Elliott Smith and The Beach Boys as influences, but even those guys (Brian Wilson especially) appreciated a big, full on mix, throwing everything but the kitchen sink into every song. I'm not saying Baxter should throw that much in to all his songs, but if not the kitchen sink, maybe a tap at least.
It's good, and for fans of singer/songwriters or of acoustic loveliness, you should check it out, but until he livens up and decides to spice proceedings up a bit, then I'll wait.
There's definite potential here, as he has a good voice, an ear for great songwriting and the playing is consistent and admirable, but it all sticks in the same mould a bit too much.