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CD REVIEW: Skinny Godman - Where You Belong
By Cyrus Rhodes - 12/16/2010 - 12:36 AM EST

Artist: Skinny Goodman
Album: Where you Belong
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Alternative Folk/Pop
Sounds Like: Moby, Sparkelhorse, Beck, Coldplay
Technical Grade: 8/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Commercial Value: 7/10
Overall Talent Level: 8/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 7/10
Best Songs: Square on Three Sides, Throw Stones, A Flood of Your Own
Weakness: Respective vocal delivery, lukewarm vocal persona, Winded Songs
CD Review:

San Francisco based singer/songwritter Skinny Goodman releases his debut solo album in June, 2010 entitled Where you Belong. Goodman is no stranger to the music business having played Keyboards for Boston based band “Savin iLL” for several years. Now setting out on his own he has described his musical quest as searching for a balance of organic & mechanic. .

Logging in at 42 minutes the CD gently takes to flight with soothing intro piece “Square on Three Sides.” This song methodically serves up delicate electric guitar groove with driving rock rhythms against sonic melodies & psychedelic vocal flair from Goodman. Track 2 “Where Were You” shifts gears a bit with driving rock rhythm, hypnotic guitars segments, & hooky vocal melodies from Goodman. Track 3 “Thrown Stones” is a hypnotic piece complete with impressive musical build eventually lending itself to an impressive marquee ballad. I especially like how this piece flows & & ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Sparklehorse, Beck, Moby & Perhaps a dash of Coldplay. Right from the start you will notice rich musical textures overflowing everywhere, full of mystery, variety & exotic sonic architecture. I would classify this music as Ambient, Alternative, Rock with a slight aftertaste of alternative folk. The songs themselves are addictive, & thought provoking complete with mysterious subject matter. The musicianship & musical touches from Goodman are quite impressive across the board. He definitely writes & plays his parts extremely well. Along the way you will notice impressive guitar work & a wide variety of creative beat programming. The mix is pretty sold across the board serving up solid low end punch & amazing high end touches. Like the aforementioned the sonic layering is off the charts - but well placed & effective. Zeroing in on Goodman’s voice: he delivers a very subtle vocal instrument effect against the music. Goodman’s sonic voice works well across the board & fills the sonic space peacefully & unobtrusively. From slow moving “A Flood of Your Own” to silky & upbeat “Remain the Same” to hypnotic “Through the Night” & “One Life” to passionate “Traceless” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with “Where you Belong” the perfect finale statement for a CD like this.  

There are times I wish Goodman would take more vocal risks thus pushing the emotional envelope a bit more - especially during some of the finale moments of the songs. When these opportunities present themselves rather than rise to the occasion, Goodman elects to play it safe. No doubt the production value is rich like a 3 layered cake - this makes Goodman’s voice sound extremely sonic & murky. This can be a double edge sword - ass Goodman fails to make the critical (Singer to Listener) vocal connection with his music because the lyrics are so murky you can’t understand what he’s singing about. Overall the vocal delivery is extremely repetitive as listeners will struggle to hold your attention span. with identifying the messages of the songs. 

Where you Belong by Skinny Goodman is a very captivating snapshot of music that goes down clean & will mystify you as a listener. Its strong suit – the deeply rich production value & arsenal of musical touches Goodman brings to the table. This CD works best when you listen to Goodman stricktly in the capacity of a  vocal instrument. Goodman is indeed a brilliant composer, & if you give him some free time, a PC & the latest version of Fruity Loops - he will no doubt blow you out of your chair. He possesses enough musical talent & songwriting prowess to be extremely dangerous. Pretty amazing stuff from a composer that enjoys making synths talk to him like R2D2.

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