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CD REVIEW: Lawrence Chang - When So Late Becomes So Early
By Steve Allat - 02/24/2005 - 04:53 AM EST

Artist: Lawrence Chang
Album: When So Late Becomes So Early
CD Review: Label: Independent
Tracks: 12
Released: 2004
Fav Tracks: Burden Of The Second, Liturgical Blues

Delegate - something all solo artists need to learn to do.
In this instance, Lawrence fell into recording an album with himself, and so he's playing all the parts. For the most part, however, this is a simple acoustic singer-songwriter album, and could have been released just as easily with no additional instrumentation. Instead, he's unfortunately stepped on his own tunes a few times.

The music is stronger than the vocals or vocal melodies and is the main appreciation I hold for the songs. There's a need here for Lawrence to work on vocal phrasing or styling just a bit - to slow down and take hold of the words or to simply use less words and use them well.
The overall strength of these 12 songs - the soft melodies and occasional fine playing by LC.
The greatest weakness - rhythm (vocal phrasing & pitch, drums)
This brings me to a quick recommendation for Lawrence- drum programming! Although these tunes could stand alone with guitar, they may have also benefited from a backbeat, either for the finished product or simply to play against when songwriting. Gotta have the tools.

It doesn't always sound like the voice & music match. Either Lawrence is playing a bit above his ability and singing to suit the musical melody or the music is just that much better than the vocals. I feel like you're holding back a bit on the vocals LC! Even though I can hear that you're expressing yourself emotionally, the songs deserve a bit more oomph, and some much needed dynamics. Pick & choose your words more closely. Remember that music can express what you feel equally as well and finding the balance for yourself is paramount. Warm the vocals up a bit with some reverb or doubling.

Overall, his song ideas and melodies are sound, it just sounds to me that they're still in the 'larvae' stage - you know, if his songs were butterflies. They still need to churn around a bit inside to refine themselves enough to be released in full expression.

Best Vocals are on 'Burden of the Second' because they fit into the music and feel easily expressed. When he sings midrange and slowly, holding the tone long, he's in his comfort zone and I'd like to hear him there more.

Sounds to me like a good start and a great experience for Lawrence, but I wouldn't go selling the farm just yet - at least not while the fields are still good to graze. I expect with a few changes and some experience, Lawrence will be back, and the next crop will be much easier to digest.

Contact: Lawrence
Website: Lawrence Chang


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