hybrid magazine review
FEB 28, 2004
"This collection of songs is an absolute must for fans of well written acoustic guitar based songs..."
Quirky. Enigmatic. Skillful. Clever. Very Clever. These are the words I would gladly throw you about Brandon Patton. I put this cd in, not expecting much, but liking the artwork. I was hooked from the first note of guitar and the first breathless "Help… Me…" From the sounds of it, Mr. Patton has been at this game for a long time, making music on his guitar and playing it for people who enjoy those witty little songs based on miniscule observations of the world around us. Not always a big fan of that when it is unskillfully done, I will most readily accept being referred to now as a fan of Brandon Patton's music.
The songs on Should Confusion cover quite a bit of ground. There is the heartbreakingly lonely lilting of "Counting The Paces" to begin the album in an almost metaphysical state of euphoria. Then the music rushes straight into a pulsing rhythm on "What's the Worst That Could Happen". This song makes the whole album worth the time, fusing its very Foo Fighters' screaming chorus and wonderfully produced guitars with the energy of Ned's Atomic Dustbin. Amazing! "Mo Song" follows this up in a very abstract pop-sensible Finn Brothers' (That's Neil and Tim) fashion; think complex vocal harmonies and captivating musical arrangements.
I could go on, telling you bits and pieces of each song and how they make me feel, or what they remind me of… And my girlfriend would tell you that the lyrics remind her very much of Dynamite Hack, although the music does not. I can't say on that. But what I can say is that this collection of songs is an absolute must for fans of well written acoustic guitar based songs… I can't say Paul Simon with any basis of absolution, but I would say that Brandon Patton tells greatly involved stories like that well-known mighty mite of the songwriting world.
Don't forget to check out Brandon's website at www.brandonpatton.com for news on his current activities. Hopefully he'll be visiting your town and mine soon.
-Embo Blake, Hybrid Magazine
Turk's Head review
FEB 7, 2004
This is a very nice batch of indie pop, based on acoustic rhythm guitar, with a strong Elliott Smith meets Wilco sensibility. Sounds positively great. Strong songs, pleasant vocals, lyrically assured, and catchy too. You could do a lot worse.
--Turk's Head Review
edited by J. Esch
"I guess what gets me angry at the music industry is that they tend to miss the gems of the world like this little album."
Ever close your eyes while listening to a song and images just pop in your head. When I do that to the album opener “Counting the Paces” I envision walking down a crowded street where everyone moves aside and allows you to walk through two walls of human bodies at a slow pace and with a huge weight on your shoulders. Not only is this album a powerful imaginative creation but it’s inspiring and chock full of emotions ranging from the highest echelons of happiness to the lowest deeps of depression. I guess what gets me angry at the music industry is that they tend to miss the gems of the world like this little album. Then again a million-dollar promotion budget and a big name producer might steal away some of the genuine sincerity from Brandon’s take on the world and its people. Well regardless I say shun them and pick this album up now!
FEB 3, 2004
"...tunes that just get better with repeated spins."
Brandon Patton - Should Confusion (Independently released CD, Pop)
An excellent independent release. Brandon Patton may be an unknown...but many of his tunes rival those of the biggies. His ability to turn a tune and...even more importantly his voice...are extraordinarily impressive. More than any other artist, Patton's approach and material remind us of Evan Dando. His songs are, for the most part, soft pop based around an acoustic guitar...and his vocals are wonderfully breathy and sincere. Rather than sounding like all those interchangeable indie/lo-fi artists...Brandon chooses to write classic pop that is fully produced and slick. Should Confusion is chock full of mature tunes that just get better with repeated spins. The only clunker here is "Auspicious Moment" but...considering that it is the only bad track, eight outa nine ain't bad (!). Particular standout cuts include "Counting the Paces," "Did That All Before" (very Nilsson-esque), and "The Good Life." (Rating: 4+++)
FEB 9, 2004
"Brandon Patton is remarkably creative, sardonically funny, and very much in love with music."
This is what strums my strings. Free-spirited, go-with-the-flow, reckless highs and dreamy lows songwriting. Unpredictable melodies carrying teenage moodswing memories, brought to us by an unpretentious poet with an occasionally mischievous potty-mouth who has a knack for infusing minor chords here and there, suddenly turning the vibe magically ethereal.
And it’s only eight-thirty in the morning. My day is open to a million possibilities right now.
In case you can’t tell, I love this CD. I love this artist. Brandon Patton is remarkably creative, sardonically funny, and very much in love with music. The very first track, “Counting the Paces,” is a lullaby tempo with anguished lyrics of loneliness and stagnation. Through its delicate and hypnotic delivery, he makes it sound beautiful. The imagery doesn’t hurt either. “I feel like I’m covered in sand,” he breathes.
I get the idea Patton is young. Most of his songs focus on teenagers and their stumbling search for who they are. “Mo Song” is a standout, with its staccato folk storytelling about a crush on a sensitive soul. My favorite moment in this song is a brief excursion from reality as he chats with a Redwood tree, which may not have anything to do with having a crush on someone, but that’s the kind of ride you’re in for. Tangential paths. Just flow with him.
One of the most visual tracks is “Thirty-one Hundred Miles,” with intriguing percussion that sounds like the clacking of the train he’s singing about. (Hats off to Scott Kessel and his “drumship enterprise” for much of the outstanding percussion on this CD.) The shuffling delivery on this track and distorted and scratchy recordings floating in and out make this one song I would love to see made into a video.
My absolute favorite track, the one that seems to sum up everything Patton is about, is the totally spontaneous “Auspicious Moment.” Patton and his friend Anand pulled a page from one of Patton’s old journals and just started rapping the words over a chaotic drum jam. Caught daydreaming about (what else?) sex during history class, the bored teen mimics his teacher’s reprimand: “No, I don’t know the answer, and no, I have no retention.” The two crack self-depreciating jokes at their own writing, dissolve into laughter in a few places, and had me laughing out loud right along with them. Patton makes the perfect comment about this song in the liner notes: “Remember when joy was this easy?”
I remembered it a little just listening to this CD. Forget your coffee – just listen to this CD first thing in the morning and then go outside and play.
By Jennifer Layton, www.indie-music.com
Daily Vault review
"Following the twists and turns of these songs, you realize this particular kid really does have it; he knows how to tell a story in such a way that you have no idea what's coming next, but aren't for a moment tempted to leave before the show's over."
Review by: Jason Warburg
Originally published: February 20, 2004
I have a 24-year-old nephew whom I love dearly in spite of his being, well, 24.
See, the kid is bright, adventurous, rootless and unreliable, easily distracted by the opposite sex and seemingly bent on stretching his adolescence out as long as possible. I'll spare you the details; suffice it to say, two years out of college, he doesn't have a penny to his name and continues to live almost completely in the ephemeral present, relying on instincts, charm, and a native intelligence that has allowed him to get away with more than most. (Hmm... does that sound more critical... or jealous?)
Anyway... Brandon Patton, for whatever reason your album Should Confusion makes me think of my nephew, and not just because he likes his music as eccentric and independent as possible. (Hell, he probably downloaded your first rough mix off the Internet years ago…)
Maybe it's because, despite a rocky moment or two, this disc full of hormonally-influenced odes to ADD ultimately won me over. The opening, somewhat mournful "Counting The Paces" had me thinking maybe I'd stumbled on yet another young "I wanna be as sad as James Taylor but not as artful" navel-gazing acoustic troubadour. Ah, but then a couple of minutes into the following "What's The Worst That Could Happen?" the lyrics and music took a sharp manic turn, electric chords crashing in as Patton played out a high school romance melodrama with an unexpected jolt of bite and purpose behind it. In the moment Patton's self-assured vocals went from breathy Dave Matthews croon to full-throated Paul Westerberg cry, I knew I was on to something.
"Mo' Song" has a similar flavor in the sense that it's also an acoustic-based track that Patton adds a tasty electric crunch to. What it also adds is dashes of cock-eyed wisdom and blind-side humor that permeate the rest of the album like the spices in a pungent gumbo. Following the twists and turns of these songs, you realize this particular kid really does have it; he knows how to tell a story in such a way that you have no idea what's coming next, but aren't for a moment tempted to leave before the show's over.
Patton's sharp wit is especially evident on the playful "Did All That Before," whose verses are full of rapturous declarations of love that collapse under their own weight in the balloon-poking chorus. "Auspicious Moment" is another rib-tickler, one of those goofy messing-around-in-the-studio vignettes that shouldn't work, but does. Patton's deadpan, self-mocking, white-boy rap delivery is the perfect counterweight for the hormone-addled fervor of the lyrics ("I can't pay attention, in the spring / When the girls are out on the green / And the summer dresses cover my head when I try to think"), the drum track crashing around in the background with uncanny adolescent empathy.
Spunout Central review
"This is my new favorite CD."
Feb. 17 2004
Suffering through a nomadic existence of barely treading a music career, Brandon persists when others would have pleaded his/her parents for a cozy return. Patton outlasted a solo effort (1997) and his band (Three Against Four). Having such an extended career with modest results must force angry rhetorical questions, but love, confidence and good ol' fashioned sticktoitiveness charged Should Confusion.
“Counting the Paces” leads the CD with a lush bittersweet ballad strung with acoustics, soul-emptying harmonies and a tasteful use of the synth bass -- yes, reminiscent of Beck’s Sea Change except Brandon has natural sonance of Ed Roland (Collective Soul). Ecstatic, I could not envision a greater piece than “Counting the Paces”. But if you already viewed the track highlights and/or the grade, the critiquing direction should not be in question.
Guerilla bushwhacks cleverly attack. My first hair-raising moment occurred when the casually boppity “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?” instantaneously erupted into a grunge-structured onslaught within in and out of its chorus. Crashing the middle of the recording are the exuberantly irreverent cuts, “Did That All Before” and “Auspicious Moment”. Both altered the perceived tone so much that it felt like I was manipulated by the previous songs.
During the second half, Should Confussion boomeranged; it cunningly (and quietly) ended with the falsetto-laden valentine, “Someday When Were Old”. Even more choice than Brandon's illusionary sonics and unorthodox structures are his transcendent lyrics. They share identifiable aspects of Bob Dylan’s adroitness and Steven Malkmus’ silly quirkiness to form the most memorable lines heard by any artist reviewed in Spunout Central’s Underground Archive section. In fact, this is my new favorite CD.
Click over to Brandon’s site and sample Should Confusion. Many overlooked and superb American artists strike once they focus on Europe -- do not let ignorance provoke Brandon Patton to be another.
Song Highlights: "What's the Worst That Could Happen?", "Mo Song", "Did That All Before" and "Someday When Were Old"
--Adam Mico, Spunout Central
JAN 30, 2004
Review: I'm sitting at work, and recalling a dream last night in which my boss confronts me and screams at me for working on my web site all day from his office. I reply: "Since you only pay me 70 percent of what I should be making and haven't given me a raise in three years, I feel entitled to only work 70 percent of the time I am here." Apropos of nothing, that little vignette, but while wage-slaving away, I am listening to Brandon Patton's CD Should Confusion (the title alone cracks me up) and, well, it's making me very very happy. As happy as Brandon's crisp, clear, happy guitar playing. The songs are sometimes melancholy, sometimes quite poppy, but all have a great slightly-awry folky feel; Brandon's got it down, and plays with the form, while the little narratives of each song just keep rolling on. (Okay, now we know why I've got other people doing record reviews). It's not easy to get me smiling on a Friday at work...THANKS BRANDON! P.S.: "Auspicious Moment" cracks me UP.
–Daniel Drennan, editor, www.Inquisitor.com, Jan 30 2004
The Celebrity Café – syndicated on headlines throughout the internet, including Ask News, Google News and AltaVista News, including dozens of others.
Brandon Patton - Should Confusion -
Brandon shouldn't be so depressed. He's a good guy and he plays good music. It seems that playing happy music in Cape Cod eventually got to his spirit and this CD is an expression of his new attitude. He expresses angst, confusion and frustration with the best of them, coming out with a damn good CD.
--Michael, new pop writer, the celebrity cafe
Reviewer's Rating: 7.5
Aiding & Abetting review
Patton has that “breathy vocals floating above neo-folk” sound down, even though Patton’s conception of neo-folk is much more Beck than, say, Fairport Covention. And Patton isn’t against letting loose and rocking out every now and then.
I like those loud moments best. That’s when Patton sounds most at ease and where he also finds a space he can call his own. Which is not to say that the folkier stuff sucks; it doesn’t. In fact, it compares well to Nick Drake and his ilk. But it’s been done and I just keep hearing dead people.
The production is impressive, making this album sound a lot fuller than your average one-man effort. Yeah. Patton has some help, but he does most of the heavy work here. Not that you could tell from the sound.
Just a nice, comfy set of songs. Patton refuses to tie himself to any one sound or idea, and I like that.
--Aiding & Abetting Feb 2004
Brandon is brilliant. He articulates emotion in words and music like no other boy with a guitar. There's a bit of everything on this album.
- Musicophile at 2:51 PM on January 13 2004
reviewed by screenshavenoemotions
Brandon Patton’s latest release Should Confusion starts out as an extremely strong recording. The first track “Counting the Paces,” a very somber, melancholy song with vocal arrangements very similar to that of Simon & Garfunkel’s album Bridge Over Troubled Water, is a great mood setter. I was inspired to sit back, think and even write, while listening. The album's second track may be its most outstanding. “What’s the Worst that could Happen?” ranges from acoustic verses, reminiscent of Duncan Sheik, to full band, up-tempo choruses that bring to mind the music of Knapsack. These two songs open this album with a very full sound that encourages you to listen on.
From there, Should Confusion has a lot of ups and downs. The songs range from happy feeling tracks, with words being rattled off in a sort of “folk-rap” way, to 60’s folk songs with old show-tune bridges, some tracks could easily be found on the next Toy Story movie soundtrack and still others are purely beautiful with melodies that resonate in your heart.
The most defining attribute of Should Confusion is Brandon’s clear, warm guitar tone that really helps make the songs. There are songs that seem more heartfelt than others and those are the ones that make this album worth listening to. They are well written, well recorded and make for a great soundtrack to your day. He is a good guitar player and knows how to write a song, but seems to lose his focus at times. The weakest point of this recording is the track “Auspicious Moment” that seems to be a humorous spur-of-the-moment song that he and a friend recorded. It doesn’t fit with the rest of the album and stands out as a nuisance when you are trying to get into the flow of the recording. Hint: if you are trying to make a recording for people other than your friends, you probably shouldn’t include inside jokes. If you take away a few of the directionless songs, Should Confusion would make a really great E.P.
#1 – Counting the Paces
#2 – What’s the Worst that could Happen?
#9 – Someday When We’re Old
Genre: Pop/Folk Rock
Fantastic!! October 9, 2003
This is a fabulous album -- Patton's best so far. Beautiful lyrics, great use of acoustic guitar and myriad other instruments, great vocal range, just great stuff. It feels like everything else Patton has done has been in anticipation of, and leading up to, this point. His diverse range of musical interests and abilities are on on display here, and all working together. Really a great album; I highly recommend it!!
--anonymous reviewer: A music fan from Berkeley, CA, posted on amazon.com