Angelo De Augustine’s third album just happens to be his very first professionally recorded and engineered studio album alongside friend and musician Thomas Bartlett, and it is apparent from the outset. Bartlett, who most recently has produced albums with Norah Jones, St. Vincent, and Yoko Ono, helps to blend together piano scores and beautifully mixed guitars to further enhance the backbone of songwriting that Augustine has proven over his last two albums. The added element of homogeneous sound on a well-produced album pushes Augustine into a new realm. Having each song crafted by artful engineers and a producer like Bartlett gives each song a gloss and a hook that is undeniable. “I could be Wrong About You” perhaps gives the best example with a light drum machine and some ambient keys behind Augustine’s thought-provoking lyrics. “Time” also shines through with a chatty whistle that helps support the melody just enough to influence but not overshadow the song itself. The production value of this album is fantastic. It’s beautifully mixed and washed, and creates a unified and comforting sound that couldn’t have been achieved without a tremendous producer and engineer.
Writing an album in just five days and recording it in just as many is as rock and roll as it can get, but sometimes it does seem best if the artist takes more time to craft the exact phrasing, whether that means lyrics or music. Augustine admits that he received a letter on December 20th, 2017 that instigated a breakup and he “started the album right then and there and finished writing it on Christmas Day.” He then flew to New York City and recorded it in just five days. It shows. Almost every song has the same tempo, and the range of emotions that usually hit someone when there’s a difficult break up isn’t available during this album. The songs themselves lack attention. His wispy falsetto voice is encapsulating enough to keep you interested, but it’s not quite enough to elevate something mundane into something obscure and beautiful. The lyrics throughout the album are repetitive and recall similar imagery again and again. Whether this is a symptom of such a quickly penned album or just a heavy-handed lyrical mistake is unknown, but the monotony of the tone and emotion is too apparent to overlook.
Music should take you on a journey. A good album can range a spectrum of emotions and feelings and can put you in and out of moods with each different cut. However, if a great album is an epic journey, this album never leaves the driveway. The car is running, and the lights are on, but the weather is too dreary to ever put the car in drive, and so there you sit wondering what will be next until the album is over or you run out of gas. The first line of the album is “Been searching for a song one of my own kind/played it back and forth preferred to rewind” which may have been advice that Augustine himself could have used before recording the album. Recording in a professional studio was a step in the right direction for Augustine, but rushing through the motions of making an album was a mistake. 2.1/5 <<