I listened to Daniel Carlson’s Aviary Jackson a number of times. I felt duty bound to be positive but I couldn’t I’m afraid. Then it struck me. It’s all the same American white guys about 40 who think they should’ve made in their twenties, now, with the advent of studio technology, suddenly they’re afforded a chance to garner all their influences and attempt to try and sound something like John Lennon but the result is a bad 10CC demo or an album by Jellyfish’s guitar tech.
Aviary Jackson all sounds too clean, homogenized, synthesized contrived and soulless to be of interest. In the opener The Innocents you hear straight away that Carlson and the producer are prone to self indulgence as they press the button in the studio marked ‘George Martin’ and hey presto we get a punchy Beatles string or brass sound, discordant backwards guitar or a sampled Ringo drum fill. On Ending there’s a nice little hook but vocally things are a bit flat. In truth, the best parts of the album are the sections without any vocals when like track 5, one of the better tracks called Landlocked we stray into an Abbey Road’s Because.
On Everywhere Is You we veer again towards acoustic guitar and piano Lennon pastiche. It’s OK but again is overclouded by studio effects and an annoying guitar effect like someone clearing their throat. Velvet sounds like a 10CC song, improves a bit then you get into it only to realise that they forgot to press the Beatle button and it goes off on a Sgt Pepper Day in the Life cacophony.
The record company site claims the songs are well written and beautifully crafted. I’m sure Dan Brown and Katie Jordan think their best selling books are well written and beautifully crafted but ultimately it’s about the content, and in this case, the songs just aren’t there. Aviary Jackson by Dylan Carlson is released on Folkwit Records. Like John Lennon would say if he were still around, I’d suggest only folk-wits would buy it. The one point is for the artwork, great sleeve.
Review by Charlie Brown