Music Review – Greg Laswell

Musician: Greg Laswell
Album: Everyone Thinks I Dodged A Bullet

There is something ethereal about soft and emotional alternative music when mixed with a cello and various electronic effects. The music is tempestuous and seems to emanate from the very depths of the human soul. Yet the result is something far from melodramatic. Instead, your ears are treated to melodies and harmonies that will carry you on gentle waves of sound. Greg Laswell’s latest album, Everyone Thinks I Dodged A Bullet is full of such musical mastery.

Originally from Long Beach, California, Greg is a musician, recording engineer, and producer who lives and works in New York. Greg began his music career in 1998 as the frontman of the band Shillglen. However, the band broke up a few years later, and, in 2003, Greg released his first solo album. Since then Greg has released several albums and his music has been featured on many television shows.

The sound of Everyone Thinks I Dodged A Bullet is similar to the band Elbow, but there are various tones and melodies that remind me of Fever Ray and The Delgados. However, Greg’s music is incredibly unique and needs to be experienced to understand the complexity of his talent.

I love everything about this album, and, after previewing the tracks for only a couple minutes, I immediately opened my iTunes store and bought it. Music as complex and hauntingly beautiful as that found on this album is a rarity.

The album opens with “Dodged a Bullet,” a track that has a cinematic feel to it because of the emphasis on the guitar and steady beat. Greg’s vocals are soft and sensual, but there is also a great deal of emotion behind the lyrics.

“Lifetime Ago” is by far my favourite. The opening music is exotic and mysterious, but enticing as well. The rhythm, which could be considered harsh, is perfectly paired with the cello. Greg’s singing expertly harmonizes with the unusual pairing, and the result is an alluring and emotional sound that will strip you of any negative or harsh feelings and fill you with a transcendent sense of peace.

“Out of Line” is powerful and moving. The elevated emotion that oozes from the melodies is something difficult to capture, and many musicians fail to reach such a height of passion. Yet, Greg managed to pull it off, and he created a song that always brings tears.

“Watch You Burn” is the only song on this album that I don’t love. While the music and lyrics are beautiful and as attractive as the rest of the music, the overuse of the reverb effect on the vocals is annoying. It is unfortunate that the vocals detract from such wonderful music.

“Not Surprised” opens brilliantly with the cello that leads strong electronic effects. Greg chose to use an electronic echo effect with his vocals, but it fits much better than the reverb effect in “Watch You Burn.” It is this song that reminds me of Fever Ray’s music, but Greg is able to ingeniously incorporate his own unique spin. As it ends you are left with a longing for more music, a strange emptiness that also feels oddly serene.

Greg’s music is difficult to put into words. It is like trying to describe the most powerful emotion that you have ever experienced. For that reason, I wouldn’t recommend listening to Everyone Thinks I Dodged A Bullet while studying. Instead, save the incredible experience for when you have time to savour the intricate melodies and overwhelming feelings.

Samantha Stevens is an aspiring writer who loves combining her love for literature with photography, painting, music, and all creative pursuits.[