Second album by Seattle-based lo-fi retro-lover

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Overall rating:

Score 2

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Graig Markel – The Gospel Project

The press release describes Markel’s “smooth voice”, but in fact it is rough and ragged, which presents a major obstacle to appreciating this album. Somewhere between an untrained Jeff Buckley and a reluctant Greg Dulli, this record similarly inhabits an unsatisfactory limbo between Grace and Black Love. The more obviously soul-oriented songs such as “Finer Side” and “Relics Of Reaction” are undermined by Markel’s creaking tenor, while the intimacy of “Hello Hello” is like being seduced by sandpaper. The strongest of these 11 songs is the falsetto paradise of “Pallisades Promenade”, a bit like the Association singing The Flaming Lips. Which makes it The Polyphonic Spree, I guess.