Hey, as I guessed, Len sounds a lot like the lounge singers of the fifties and sixties, using an emotive bass and a twinkling piano to create an environment for eir first track, “Be The Man I Was Really Meant To Be”. Going farther into the Frank Sinatra imitation with the scat heard on the track, Len provides a middle-of-the-ground track that sounds like pretty much every track from that genre and time period, albeit with much better recording. The second track, “I’m A Man, Yes I Am” falls to the depths of mediocrity as Len’s crooning strikes the average listener as utterly deadpan, the fluctuation in eir voice seeming almost arbitrary. Even the horn on the track feels incomplete. What is a strong suit for Len are the short track lengths of each track on this demo, with none of the vocal tracks breaking the two and a half minute mark. “They Call Me A City Slicker” is the strongest of these three vocal tracks as it puts Len’s voice closer to the background, which allows the above-average arrangements and instrumentation to shine through where it had previously been obfuscated.
As such, this stuff may play to the older crowds, but as for making any sort of dent in the current music market, Len is simply unable to bring eir music into any sort of contemporary sound. Ending the disc with an instrumental is probably the worst move that I’ve seen on a demo like this – if the general flow wasn’t depressing enough as it was, it is like molasses when “They Tell me I’m A Man” starts up. One thing that is bothersome about this CD is the fact that Len really wants you to know that ey is a man over and over – three of the tracks proclaim that fact nice and loud in their titles.
Sexism and roles based on men are never permissible in music, and Len shouldn’t be given a pass just because ey so blandly apes a style that was popular in the “better” days of America. Just break out the old records this time, because honestly, Len isn’t bringing anything to the table that hadn’t been brought many many other times in the past. As Len is already old, I really can’t fathom eir getting any better – just avoid this and pick up anything different. You’ll thank me that you haven’t heard Len, the “lighter” Pat Boone.
Top Track: None
Len Guardino – Demo / 2004 Guardino Publishing / 4 Tracks / http://www.champagnecat.com /firstname.lastname@example.org / Reviewed 13 January 2005