Drew Danburry Besides: Are We Just Playing Around Out Here or Do We Mean What We Say?

[Self-released; 2005]

Rating: 3/5

Styles: indie spazz, indie pop, experimental pop
Others: Geggy Tah, The Cocker Spaniels, Ben Folds

Drew Danburry was nice enough to send me his CD. I was happy to have someone wanting to send me things. It's nice to open up your mailbox and find a package addressed to you. It's an even more pleasant experience when your package contains Besides (if you expect me to type out that title again, you're raving mad). What's so special about Besides? It's hard to place a finger on one aspect of Drew Danburry's latest effort. It could be occasional classic Casio drums, the playful jubilance of Danburry's voice, and the uncanny ability to make Besides into one long-running, smooth sailing disc. The flow is impeccable, and before you realize it the fantasy island getaway has finished as quickly as it started.

But you probably want to hear about the songs, don't you? You and your demands. The eerie rise and fall of theremin intermingling with the plucky piano of "It Starts With Indigo, Orange, and Green," blending into its fraternal twin "It Ends With Red, Violet, and Orange," provides the biggest summary one could give about the song structure and influence of Danburry. His melodies are playful and breezy much like the peak of Ben Folds, while his lyrics are honest, thoughtful, and yet funny like those of Wayne Cohen or a sober Robert Pollard (or, to beat a dead horse, Ben Folds). What you won't find on Besides is the reliance on tired pop clichés (it seems Danburry heeded his own warning during "Know Your History Before You Become Part of the Repetition"). Danburry is wise enough to stay away from the hackneyed and focus on his own wit. The album doesn't take too many musical chances because it doesn't need to.

Don't be fooled: Drew Danburry hasn't written another throwaway pop album. In fact, he may be a torchbearer for a new era of fun pop that isn't full of bad sentiment and choreographed dancing. It's not very often that a theremin makes a pop song, and it's more rare that someone can take traditional pop music and turn it upside down. Besides can be a bit too quirky for its own good, but it's also that quirkiness that causes otherwise maligned songs to become enjoyable melodies destined for repeat listens.

1. Le Premier Chagrin
2. It Starts With Indigo, Orange, and Green
3. It Ends With Red, Violet, and Orange
4. Red Rock Virgin's Encounter with Winter Nights
5. Know Your History Before You Become Part of the Repetition
6. It's Illegal to Frown in Pocatello
7. Tree on Wheels
8. This is My Mom and Dad's Favorite Song
9. When Darkness Abounds
10. Coming Around Like the Karate Kid
11. Rainbow Days Come After Rain and Both Make Life a Little Less Plain
12. Postponing Alaska

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