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Articles Home » 2004 Articles » Wiard, Brandon - 2004 Painting A Burning Building
Wiard, Brandon - 2004 Painting A Burning Building

Brandon Wiard - vocals, guitars, keyboards
Guests: various

Nice to see that power pop is alive and well in 2004, especially coming from the heartland of USA. Funny that, everytime I see that word 'heartland' and 'USA' mentioned in the same sentence, thoughts of Tom Ridge and G. Dubya Bush are conjured up in my brain. Distasteful huh? Well, on the contrary, a very tasty slice of pop has been provided on a platter from Michigan based Brandon Wiard (pronounced 'wired'). With the breakthrough of artists such as John Mayer and Josh Kelley, the barndoor has been opened slightly for those good enough to pry it open further, and judging by the efforts of Brandon's new album 'Painting A Burning Building', it has been truly shunted off its hinges!

The Songs
Though Brandon's music is a tribute to all those who have gone before, particularly those artists from the UK a la Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello (Mr Diana Krall to you and I now!!) and Wilco, there is enough of his own style to identify that this a talent waiting to happen. For instance, a potential tune that should be picked up radio is the melodious 'Miss Michigan'. This one's got everything really.. catchiness, commercial appeal, and a certain amount of vibe to make the record execs sit up and take notice. It doesn't stop there; 'Since You've Gone Away' taking a potentially drab subject and brightening it up with an appealing chorus. Wind the clock several decades to the chart-ridden days of Elvis Costello or Joe Jackson and you'll find a tune like 'I'll Write These Songs' stepping out in similar fashion. 'Caroline' is a somber ballad followed by the emotion fuelled wonderment of 'Permanent Smile', that Rhodes style piano lacing this song with a definite seventies vibe. 'KMS' is pure power-pop with a hint of 21st century attitude (not forgetting what timeframe we're in here!). A couple of the other tracks feature female lead vocals ('Moving On' and 'Old Heartless Sun') while toward the end, 'Seeing You In No Time' is infused with an array of strange effects and vocals, including reprises of 'KMS' and 'Since You've Gone Away'. Different? Definitely!

In Summary
Though this webzine has tended to veer away from power-pop type reviews since the halcyon days of ex Glory-Daze reviewer Andrew Ellis, 'Painting A Burning Building' is a pleasant reminder that this genre still contains some gems. The crossover potential of Brandon Wiard is obvious for all to see, and for a bright and breezy slice of pop that contains as much melody as a Hershey bar contains life-threatening levels of sugar, you won't consume any better than this.


Track Listing:
01 Already In Amazement
02 Miss Michigan
03 Since You've Gone Away
04 I'll Write These Songs
05 Caroline
06 Permanent Smile
07 KMS
08 Loose Women
09 Moving On
10 Old Heartless Sun
11 Second Story
12 Seeing You In No Time

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