(Razor & Tie)
First Appeared at The Music Box, June 2003, Volume 10, #6
Written by John Metzger
Marty Lloyd made a name for himself as one-half of the songwriting duo that founded the Freddy Jones Band in the early í90s. It was his song (In a Daydream from Waiting for the Night) that caught fire with radio stations across the country, helping to propel the group from local favorite to national touring act. The ensembleís follow-up North Avenue Wake-Up Call was its crowning achievement as Lloyd, along with Wayne Healy and Rob Bonaccorsi, crafted an album full of roots-rock gems anchored by blues-oriented motifs.
Unfortunately, as the Freddy Jones Bandís popularity grew, its internal strife took a turn for the worse. Lucid, the groupís final studio recording, was marred by the same problems facing most bands after achieving rapid success. In other words, it was virtually a formulaic rehashing of the ensembleís first two efforts. In what was undoubtedly an attempt to recreate the magic that had once come so easily, the Freddy Jones Band now sounded like a shadow of its former self. Not surprisingly, the group called it quits, though not before issuing a live album in 1999.
Since then, Lloyd has been surfacing here and there around Chicago ó and more recently, around the rest of the country ó performing both a solo act as well as fronting the newly founded Marty Lloyd Band with Marigold, his debut, providing the fodder for his tours. Disappointingly, the albumís songs are fairly typical singer-songwriter fare, covering much of the usual observations on life and love. True, Lloyd never had a flare for penning lyrics that were much more than this, but he is genuinely good at giving them life through his catchy pop hooks. That, however, is exactly where he runs into trouble on Marigold.
Perhaps the competition that the Freddy Jones Band provided is lacking here, or perhaps Lloyd is trying too hard to recreate the success of In a Daydream. Whatever the reason happens to be doesnít really matter. The truth is that Marigold sounds like any other corporately-sanctioned roots-rock album on the market: radio-friendly but repetitious and woefully bland beyond belief. For example, the tragic story relayed in American Dream falls completely flat, sounding like a missing track from Trainís equally disappointing Drops of Jupiter. Elsewhere, Weíll Get By merges Sheryl Crow with The Eagles, but fades out just as it begins to get remotely interesting. The same intrigue lingers within the closing moments of songs like Blackbird and Josephine, and itís possible that these songs will spring alive in a concert setting. But thatís little consolation for an album that fails to live up to its promise. Without question, the melodies employed throughout Marigold drip like sugar water. They go down easy, but are ultimately unsatisfying.
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box