Bill Madden – Samsara’s Grip (CD)

Opening up “Samsara’s Grip” with one of the most far-reaching and impressive alternative rock songs, Bill Madden inserts bits and pieces of R.E.M., New Radicals, and the like to make a compelling and ingratiating song. Moving more into the Dave Matthews-brand of vocalization, some form of drive forces “Masterpiece” in a realm that is not usually traversed by the former’s music.

There is some actual conclusion to this music, instead of the same rote, drawn-out repetition that marks most of the singer-songwriter genre. The music is not revolutionary in its sound, but provides perfect material for the legion of individuals who would rather slap on a pair of headphones and zone out to their favorite musician. If individuals would get the ability to listen to tracks off of “Samsara’s Grip”, chances are that Madden’s fanbase would swell, owing much to the heart-breakingly beautiful way in which Madden constructs each guitar lick and vocal inflection.”19 Miles” suffers from the lack of the same drive that brought its preceding track to the dizzying heights of greatness, but offers a brooding tone that surpasses anything to this point. The bass laid down by Billy Mohler is the piece de resistance “19 Miles”, leading fairly well to the dreamy guitar work placed down in the Tom Petty-vocaled/Wallflowers-esque guitar led “Fools’ Parade”.

Each of Bill Madden’s track on “Samsara’s Grip” is a mini-epic, its four-minutes devoted to creating a rich tapestry of differing sounds, moods, and influences. The disc will get mucho play on CMJ radio, but this isn’t your typical indie flavor of the weak – this is Don Henley, Bryan Adams, and Mr. Mister fighting intensely over the last scrap of food in the trash can, and anyone that liked that style of music when it dominated the airwaves in the eighties will be happy to see that it makes such a convincing comeback on this album.

Madden’s album is one of the few that can revel in a slowed-down and laid-back tempo for an extended length of time. To do something of this magnitude is equivalent to those individuals that can practically stop their heart to conserve energy when they are in the coldest of settings. The mastering on this disc is the final icing on the cake; if a less skilled hand was on the dials, then a track like “Right In The Head” would not be able to drag people along for the entirety of its length.

Top Tracks: Right in the Head, Masterpiece

Rating: 6.3/10

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