Album review: PAUL GUZZONE – Chasing The Moon

Triple Z Music [Release date 2013]

New York based Paul Guzzone describes himself as ‘an electronic troubadour’.  He’s big on sonic textures, wry narratives, catchy hooks and songs that draw you in. ‘Chasing The Moon’ is an unlikely but successful meeting of a singer-songwriter with one foot in roots rock and the other in electronic production.

At heart he’s a romantic confessional songwriter with an eye for commercial pop, refracted through contemporary production values on intricately crafted, subtly layered and beautifully sung material.

Everything is delicately balanced and shaped to its full potential without losing its essence, or as one of best songs suggests ‘The Simplest Things’.

‘Chasing The Moon’ is the work of a fine singer and mature songwriter whose phrasing perfectly captures the nuance of his songs. He tops and tails the album with the reggae inflected and radio friendly ‘I Will Carry You’, which has Radio 2 stamped all over it, but is none the worse for that. In contrast, ‘The Simplest Things’ is a contradiction in terms, a very catchy tune that celebrates exactly what the title suggests, but is carried by a busy production full of hip-hop scratching, sampled voices and bv’s, without once losing the sentiment of the title, as he emotes all those things we love to do in life and which ‘bring people together’.

The title track offers sharp contrast with a synth string intro, an electronic production and a breathy vocal sweep that perfectly captures the emotion of an essential relationship song over a languid reggae beat. This track perfectly captures Guzzone’s talent for uncovering a melodic pop tune in the most sutble of ways. It’s the sort of MOR piece that you might ordinarily overlook, but you get suckered in with the interwoven words and melody.

‘Everything Happens For A Reason’ celebrates a greater spirit, on a track that starts out like Scottish popsters Orange Juice, but builds to an uplifting Albert Hammond style chorus, compete with fine harmony singing.

And as if to emphasize the sheer variety and ebb and flow of this finely honed album, Paul slips into the self evident title of ‘Blue Caribbean Waltz , while some overly deliberate phrasing on the fictional narrative of ‘I Saw Elvis’ is reminiscent of Dr. Hook’s ‘Sylvia’s Mother’, but none the worse for that.

Then there’s the electronics of ‘Modern Man’, the clinical and computerised arrangement of which evokes the song’s lyrics. It’s a poignant take on the corporate man: ‘Yes I’m highly motivated, out of control but liberated’, but there’s a neatly delivered sting in the tale that fits perfectly fits this insightful song: ‘There’ something I think you should know, hear me out before you go, Something’s missing in my home, I can’t stand to be alone’.

‘Chasing The Moon’ may have been built on many derivate parts, but it’s still high quality singer songwriting at its best and well worth exploring. ****1/2

Review by Pete Feenstra

 


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