Brent Randall and his Magnificent Pinecones

By Garrett Hendriks

This album begs to be made of summer, light as leaves and drifting on its breeze and probably would, before being blown off completely.

Brent Randall is from the east coast, but this album sounds more like it belongs to the forlorn moments in old summertime movies, where someone stands in the sunset and sad sounds waft over the montage until blasting into a concert hall playing to over-insulated walls for an off-Broadway musical enduring its final night, smiles stretched manically, the house band playing Iron Butterfly covers acoustically. The vocals all dress up like any number of narrators, incapable of telling a tale, who switch from tongue-in-cheek sly arrogance to ignorable whispers of a plotless story. If the backing instrumentation could be considered candy, the pianos, trumpets and sometime harpsichords would be over-dyed, made of high fructose corn syrup and shaped in child friendly forms, gladly sending your ears into hypoglycemic shock. Even in the moments where the horns blare and the drums are tuned low and the vocals are fluttering, “like bluebirds, flowers and other things,” there are Beatles crawling on it with little interest.

All told there are moments to applaud on the album, ironically excluding some of the tracks’ handclaps, but the guitars maintain poise and tone and the arrangements switch instrumentation in quick, inspired bursts. Though sadly, We Were Strangers in Paddington Green means an overall sparseness- like Paddington Green is a place where retiring cabarets play to empty fields on too cold summer nights where trees suck up the echoes, and drink in the sound leaving it flat.