First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2004, Volume 11, #7
Written by John Metzger
Itís been over 42 years since Bob Dylan released his debut, and in that span of time, countless other artists have been saddled with the baggage of being dubbed "the new Bob Dylan." Despite the termís being bandied about on countless occasions in any given year, however, few of these performers ever live up to, let alone survive, such fawning praise and the inherent expectations that come along with it. Indeed, itís as much a death knell as winning a Grammy for Best New Artist, yet labels and management glom onto the phrase whenever it surfaces, happily plastering it anywhere and everywhere that they can. The end result, unfortunately, is that everyone is left feeling a tad disappointed.
Ciaran McFeely, who records under the moniker Simple Kid, is the latest to fall victim to this scheme, and quite frankly, based upon his debut 1, heís not the next Bob Dylan, or the post-modern Bob Dylan, or any other Bob Dylan, for that matter. In truth, he draws more from The Kinks, David Bowie, and The Who, although he wraps it all within the contemporary styles of Beck and Moby. The collection was largely created by McFeely on his 8-track recorder and laptop, and in spite of his infinitely lofty ambitions, there is a digital sterility that creeps into the otherwise lo-fi set, largely because the various loops and effects threaten to whirl out of control, leaving behind an ambience of cold calculation. Still, his melodies manage quite successfully to ingratiate themselves within oneís subconscious, and his lyrics, which run the gamut from lost-in-love laments to socio-political commentaries, are a cut above the norm for a 23-year old lad. Even so, one has to wonder how George Harrison can get sued for copyright infringement after he cleverly turned The Chiffonsí eminently infectious Heís So Fine into My Sweet Lord, but Simple Kid can lift the main riff from The Cureís equally blissful Boys Donít Cry to employ it just as effectively as his intro to Breakups Breakdowns with nary a mention from anyone.
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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