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CD REVIEW: Bray - "Independent Film"
By Gian F - 01/16/2004 - 09:57 PM EST

Artist: Bray
Album: "Independent Film"
CD Review: Genre: R&B
Sounds Like: Paul Peterson
Technical Grade: 8
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8
Commercial Value: 8
Overall Talent Level: 9
Songwriting Skills: 7
Performance Skill: 9
Best Songs: Don't Give Up On Me, Independent Film, Make Out, Manufactured Atmosphere, N Pink
Weakness: Needs True Ballad
CD Review: If there was actually an "old school" for R&B, Bray would have graduated at the top of the class. If there was a Minneapolis school of funk, he would have been the valedictorian. His 10 song project is a refreshing blend of heart, soul, and melody that evoke the spirit and sound of a live performance. More concerned with the organic qualities of his music than with contemporary production techniques, Bray delivers songs that are honest and can be reproduced with accuracy and effect on stage.

Songs like "Eletelephony v.03" and "Jonny Broke My Computer" are not radio hits, but they are the kind of songs that musicians really get into. If you have ever seen a musician enjoying himself on stage, you know that joy becomes contagious. The songs with the most commercial appeal are "Don't Give Up On Me," and "Independent Film," which has a strong chorus and a unique vocal arrangement that finds Bray adeptly flexing the lower registers of his voice and diverse songwriting skills.

I'm sure that it comes as a bit of a shock to those in Bray's camp that I did not identify the opening track, "Make Out," or "N Pink" as the most commercial songs; regardless of the airplay they received on KPOO. Those are good tracks but they don't stick because the hooks get lost despite the nice grooves surrounding them. What also gets lost is the opportunity for Bray to tone down his band and fully showcase his vocal power which we only see glimpses of during most of his tracks.

Advice: As much as I like this project (as I tend to like most projects with heavy Prince influence) most of my industry peers shy away from this type of music because they consider it to be "dated." You may have to work the "dated" angle to your advantage. Let people know that it's SUPPOSED to have an old school feel. Also, this kind of project doesn't need explanation in the European market. Over there, it is what it is, and from what I have experienced, they would love it. Have your management look into to start building some bridges to that market.

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