Even though this disc is already old (it was first released in 1998), there is no doubting the fact that this track has more to do with early Sade and Journey than anything from its contemporaneous decade. The anemic sound of the disc’s first track “Color The Blue” is only saved from complete anonymity by the very emotive outputs by both Leon Vest and the guitars placed down by Garth Webber. It is not a coincidence that the guitars hid so hard during this track, as the album itself is also engineered by Garth, who can then really fit the guitar to its perfect location and sound. The guitar again makes a strong entrance with “Fashion”, where it recalls a less wank-y version of Santana.
In much the same way as “Color The Blue”, Leon-Vest’s vocals stealthily sneak around the instrumentation to put forth a very looking-back brand of pop. In a sense, Leon-Vest’s CD suffers by this extreme amount of cohesion; the vocal output on “Fashion” is almost note for note the same as it was on the opening track. While there is something to say about keeping a coherent sound throughout a disc’s runtime, Leon-Vest moves well beyond that and essentially just recasts the first track over again. Another big issue with “So Blue” is the fact that two of the disc’s three longest tracks are stuck right at the beginning of the disc. This has the distinct possibility of hamstringing Leon-Vest before ey gets started; if there was more differentiation during these first few tracks, chances are that the mountain that listeners have to climb before they get to the promise land would be much more scaleable.
There is some move for change during the earliest section of “If Wishes Were Horses”, but it is honestly only a minute before Leon-Vest moves back into eir tried brand of vocals. Let’s put it this way; if Leon-Vest cut these tracks as singles, they would have much more success instead of being rattled off one after another on this disc. The instrumentation again changes slightly for “So Blue”, but even a ragtime-influenced arrangement cannot do anything to save this rapidly-sinking album. Perhaps there is some new album coming out now that will address some of these problems, but as it stands right now “So Blue” is essentially one song done eight times. If one must listen, download “Color The Blue” and make the decision from there.
Top Track: Color The Blue
Leon-Vest – So Blue / 2005 DTI Records / 8 Tracks / http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/leonvest / Reviewed 09 December 2005