Album: James Marsters: Civilised Man
Street Date: May 23, 2005
Reviewed by: Renda
Official site: http://www.jamesmarsterslive.com
I'll be the first to admit that I didn't have high expectations for the CD, and I only went out of my way to procure it for sheer novelty. However, I was highly surprised when it turned out to be an amazing album.
1. Katie - This is such a cute song! From the very first time I heard it I was singing out "Ka-tie!" right along with the song. It's a nice little song about being in love with a girl who is already attached to someone else. It's one of the catchiest songs I've heard in a long time.
2. Bad - The steady pace and smooth vocals drive this song. Lyrically one of my favorite songs on the album, as well as musically. "Bad" is a really fun song, and I quickly adopted it as one of my favorites on the album on the first time I listened to it.
3. This Town - Subtle guitar and vocal work make this such a pretty little love song. I love the lyrics and soft pacing of the entire song. It's such an odd contrast after "Bad", but it works so well that it doesn't raise questions about style. Although James is stylistically all over the place on the album, he does all of them so well that it works seamlessly.
4. Smile - Hands down the best song on the CD. Although simplistic, it is that simplicity that drives it to be a such a great song. The lyrics encompass the feeling of anyone in a new relationship, and those feelings are magnified by the simple piano-vocal styling. A perfect song.
5. For What I Need - This song is such an odd contrast to "Smile", and yet James pulls it off. The blues sound works well with his voice, and the song is entertaining to say the least.
6. Long Time - The album takes a turn back to the slower side with "Long Time", but this one has more of an edge than "Smile" or "This Town". The chorus is very catchy, and lyrically the song is touching. I couldn't help but sing a long with the la la's in the bridge of the song on the first listen, and I found myself humming the chorus shortly after listening to the album.
7. Every Man Thinks That God Is On His Side - This is the only song that James didn't write himself on the album, but he does an excellent job on this song. With a slower introduction verse the song builds into a hard and fast rock song by the chorus.
8. Poor Robyn - Possibly my least favorite song on the CD, and although the other slower songs are excellent this one seems to drag a bit in the middle. The track is slower paced, and sounds like something you might hear in an elevator. Although it's not awful it is definitely not the strongest song on the album.
9. No Promises - The album picks up again with the upbeat and cheery song. It's a cute song with good "Pop song" rhythm, and flows well making it really fun to listen to and sing a long with.
10. Patrica - "Patrica" is another perfect song on the CD. When I heard it the first time my first inclination was that it would fit perfectly on Pop radio, but on second listen realized how much I enjoy the guitar rifts and vocal work.
11. Civilised Man - Excellent guitar rifts and vocals make this track so much fun. This was one of my favorite tracks on the first listen, and I think that it is a perfect ending to a nearly flawless album.
I suggest this album for all fans of Indie Rock and good music in general. For those you who don't know James Marsters played "Spike" on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" which is why I said that I picked it up as a novelty. However, this is a serious musician with a good album, and I was definitely floored when I realized what an excellent CD it is.
Arrows To Athens:
Kings & Thieves
( Hear more )