The Urbane - Glitter - 2003
There are really versatile musicians in music business. Take as an example John Mitchell, guitarist from the not particularly brilliant but very popular band Arena. There are no virtuosos on ubiquitous Clive Nolan's band, but there stands out Mitchell's work on the six strings, capable, with his ethereal solos, of an impeccable David Gilmour impersonation. Guitarist takes a break from symphonism on his The Urbane side project and, interesting thing, transforms his style and makes it unrecognizable. This time, it's about plain and simple power pop, without any sophistication or arrangement. Concise and energetic songs, easy melodies and a raw sound, which can remind you of venerated King's X.
CD opens with "Chain Smoking A Way To Your Heart", which prefigures traits for the rest of the album. A song undoubtedly focused to be a radiable single. "12" introduces string arrangements, to combinate them with a quite powerful sound. Music hardens with title track "Glitter", which features distorted guitars and filtered vocals. "Beautiful Sun" retakes the melody from "Chain Smoking...", but this time in a melodic key, giving shape to an acceptable acoustic ballad. The main part of the album moves around similar aesthetics, embellishing the basic sound with some additional keyboards (like on "Parachute") or using programmed rhythms ("Hate My Radio"). Last third of the CD slightly raises the bar, using different compositing formulas, with longer developments and a wider sound, as on the melodic "Cut The Wire", or on the longest (7.47) and most "complex" track of the album, the apocalyptic ballad "Give It Away", which flows in a surrounding and powerful manner. Best track on the CD, no doubt. "Suffocate", with its hypnotic and technological sound, closes an impeccable work but, because of it, lacking any ambition or innovative urge.
The Urbane offers a very pleasing music, easily digestible, but also predictable and unsophisticated. Pure handbook rock and roll.