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Album Review: Joel Plaskett

Joel Plaskett
Joel Plaskett and the Park Avenue Sobriety Test
Pheromone Records

In an attempt to please everyone, Joel Plaskett fails to please anyone with his newest album Joel Plaskett And The Park Avenue Sobriety Test. The folk singer branches away from his genre to prove that he’s capable of more. Unfortunately, his attempts are as half-baked as RATT’s hot wings.

Plaskett seems too preoccupied with trying different genres in this album and there is no harmony between his songs. Each one is a different sound from new-age blues, to classic rock, to lounge music. An album should be consistent in genre from start to finish. When listening to folk music, you shouldn’t be assaulted by a Metallica-worthy electric guitar solo in the middle of one song.

Which brings up the next issue with Plaskett. Like the whole album, the individual songs are at odds with themselves and are a mess of fiddle rifts, piano keys, and twanging banjos, as Plaskett croons and howls through it all like the lovechild of Bob Dylan and Brad Paisley. Everything is out of sync. The electric guitar solo emerges near the end of “Captains of Industry.” A smooth piece, the song seems appropriate for a mellow country bar, when suddenly, in the last quarter, echoing guitar strings drown everything out and ruin the chill atmosphere developed in the beginning.

It’s clear from Plaskett’s previous work that he is capable of creating good music and Park Avenue Sobriety Tests proves that he is not afraid to break boundaries by combining genres. However, if he had just stuck to one theme, he could have had a better-developed album. Right now, Plaskett needs to spend a lot more time at the drawing board.

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