Sense of Light
First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2004, Volume 11, #7
Written by T.J. Simon
Singer-songwriter Clarence Bucaro is a diamond in the rough, and he possesses all the raw ingredients that are necessary for breaking through to the mainstream. He is, after all, as handsomely debonair as John Mayer; as laid-back as Jack Johnson, and as soulful as Martin Sexton. He also has as much of a fondness for jazz-oriented textures as Joe Henry. Poised at the crossroads between folk and smooth jazz, Sense of Light, his debut, sounds crisp, clean, and professional. Nevertheless, it also ultimately suffers from the fact that Bucaro insists upon employing the same, uniform song structure over and over again throughout the endeavor.
At times, on Sense of Light, it becomes difficult to tell one track from another, largely because the combination of acoustic guitar, gentle percussion, and accented horns makes for a repetitive — if pleasant — recipe. The most notable exception is Sweet on You, which breaks the formula by employing the bottomless bass of a sousaphone as well as the playful plucking of a banjo. It’s the best track among the songs on Sense of Light and should serve as a blueprint for future Bucaro releases. After all, his band is a talented collective and the horn arrangements by Jake Wynne and Tony Koussa considerably color the album, particularly on the standout track Light Me a Candle, which effectively showcases the interplay between sax and trumpet with Bucaro’s prayerful words.
As for the lyrics on Sense of Light, they rotate through tender love laments, explorations of spirituality, and earnest displays of Bucaro’s highly-developed social conscience. Of a Trade addresses the cruelty of international child labor, and Father of Our Nation is based on the writings of the imprisoned Drapchi nuns in Tibet. Kudos to Bucaro for fighting the good fight on behalf of the powerless, but he needs to be careful not to strain his back while carrying the weight of the world upon his shoulders. Overall, however, his considerable songwriting abilities and ear for good musicianship result in a dozen songs with little to dislike, and as Bucaro matures, he hopefully will learn to exhibit more variances in his songwriting style.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box