Michael Lee is a singer songwriter from Buckinghamshire who cites, among his influences, Sting. That aside I still tried hard to give it a good listen despite my fears at seeing yet another English middle class troubadour on the cover, with blow dried hair and ubiquitous raincoat stare longingly at a cowpat just off in the distance. My notebook said egregious, remarkably bad. But I listened 4 times to see if I could be positive.
Lose the drummer, he’s too busy. Oh sorry you’re the drummer. And the fancy fretwork from the guitarist is getting in the way, oh sorry that’s you too. You want to show off don’t you? Michael Lee is clearly a Jack of all trades but a master of none. Only Jimi Hendrix and Prince could truly play at the level required to convince as multi instrumentalists and sorry Michael, this just sounds like a huge vanity project.
On Tired, a Rufus Wainwright style song where Lee keeps it simple with a nice string arrangement, he is actually quite good. Mystery of Life also shows that less is more.
Like most men his age who’ve probably tried for years in previous groups to make it, Michael Lee should be applauded for still trying but for me this is just poor. This is what happens when musicians forget to listen to records and prefer to read guitar magazines. Someone should’ve said, listen to some records. Listen to structure, start with 60’s garage, listen to Motown records some Northern Soul, listen to some punk records. Everything is about structure, melody and excitement and all with the aim of adding to the song. Sadly Face Forward does none of this.
Review by Charlie Brown