My Favorite Songwriters

My Favorite Songwriters

My Favorite Songwriters

My Favorite Songwriters

Five One

My first question is whose favorite songwriters? The label’s? Then how does a virtually unknown record company pull in the roster here? And since when do conglomerates refer to themselves with singular pronouns? I’d like answers, but it’s doubtful I’ll get them, so I’ll move ahead to the matter at hand. Somehow Five One, in celebration of its fifth (!) birthday, roped in some of indie rock’s A-list, including Tim Kasher (Cursive), Jim Ward (Sparta), Robert Nanna (Braid) and Stephen Brodsky (Cave In), for a makeshift tribute to themselves. Not surprising, many of the tracks from these guys sound like stripped-down material from their full-time outfits. Pretty Girls Make Graves’ Derek Fudesco steps out of death-obsessed character for playful instrumental electro-pop on “AM Jam,” as does Lars Heintz with “Couples Next Door.” Dan Hargest turns in “Water Me,” which feels like a mad combination of Incubus at their most whiny and tantric and generic Christian rock. It’s by far the worst thing here. The two Japanese acts, Masafumi Isobe/Corner and Hisahi Yoshino & M.A.G.O., actually break the dude-in-his-bedroom-with-a-four-track template that overrides the album. They’re both blasts of fresh air, but Yoshino’s takes top prize for its fun-house screaming intro and outro and its great pop hooks. It’s the only offering that’s wide in scope and feels like it’s pushing the boundaries afforded him by this project.

Overall, most of the work here is pleasant enough; just a little middle-of-the-road for my taste, but those are the perils of taking indie rockers out of their natural environment. Completists and long-time listeners might find more revelations on here than I did, but passing fans would be better off spending their money elsewhere.

Five One: www.fiveoneinc.com

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