Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Review: Brian Buta - False Colors

Label: self-released (available through CD Baby and iTunes)

Released: September 2007

The whole idea of rehashing the 80s never quite sat well with me. Now that it's been redone to death by so many hipsters with more fashion-sense than creativity, I'm even less receptive. That being said, Brian Buta must be doing something right, because he is almost completely stuck in the 80s and I still found time to listen to his CD multiple times.

False Colors is a solo effort in every sense of the term. Buta wrote, recorded and mixed the album himself. He even did the artwork. As such however, the album lacks the humanness of an album where at least the performance is a social effort. Buta's overly processed approach often feels synth-laden even when he's using real instruments. Granted, he intends the album to be cold and dark, but it often comes across as synthetic instead.

Still, the album has some very listenable elements. It is rooted in the late 70s/ early 80s, but Buta hasn't bought entirely into borrowing the most common pieces. Sure, there is plenty of U2 and Depeche Mode on the album, but he also dabbles in the likes of PiL and early Elvis Costello. The result is an album that shows Buta as a musician who hasn't entirely grown out of his influences rather than just a genre surfer who jumps on the best wave he sees at the moment. While he's sometimes mopey, sometimes angry, he's always emotive. You just have to pay more attention to gather it from under the effects.

Brian Buta seems to be an artist with a good bit to offer, but working entirely on his own, nothing is pushing him to explore. He also needs a producer to steer him away from the cheap effects and into a more natural sound that will better display both his songwriting and performance. All in all, this isn't a bad effort for a self-released solo album and there are some tracks that bring me back for repeat listens. However, it also feels somehow incomplete and short of his potential.

Rating: 5/10



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