I have one word of advice for you- don’t judge this album by its first song.
The song in question is called “Who is Better Than Us?” and it is a bizarre, somewhat enjoyable mix of rock, metal and hip-hop. I kid you not. It’s something you have to hear to believe.
The rest of the album is nothing like this- Vancouver’s Marq de Souza comes off sounding like a cowboy traveling down the open road.
The one theme that I sensed throughout the album was one of gambling. There are numerous references, some even in the titles; examples are “Solitaire Bound” and “B.J. Babe” (that stands for blackjack, in case you were suspicious).
His songs on the album tend to stray into the longer, with one reaching close to ten minutes, very a-la Don Maclean. After the ten songs that de Souza himself sings, there are two bonus tracks; they are two different versions of “Solitaire Bound” sung by his friend (presumably) Amanda Sonic.
This album definitely takes some getting used to. Those who are not accustomed to longer songs may not enjoy this, but some may enjoy the idea of the jaded traveler of the dusty roads.
This album would be a little stronger if it had a little more direction in terms of its content. When de Souza’s songs go into the past-seven-minute territory, there could be more done to retain interest in the song.
That being said, there are bright spots. His song “Renewal (Pt. 1)” is an interesting piece with twangy guitars and vocals which are almost in the form of spoken-word poetry. “The End of This Song” is also good, with its self-aware lyrics.
The album itself is not bad; there is no doubt that Marq de Souza is a talented guitarist. With a little more variety, his next album could really be something special.
Top Tracks: “The End of This Song”; “Renewal (Pt. 1)
2.5 Hoots (out of 4)