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Abraham Levitan Ė Speak, Memory

Released on Lujo Records, 11/18/08

Chicago-native Abraham Levitan may be better known as the lead singer of indie-soul group Baby Teeth. But while the group awaits the release of their third album, Levitan decided to break out on his own. Unfortunately, itís not without its faults.

Itís not that the album doesnít offer any redeeming qualities -- itís just that it feels contrived and like Levitan is reaching a bit too far. Heís trying to go for a specific sound instead of playing to his strengths and allowing the music to flow organically. The sound that heís striving for is a sort of mesh between Joy Division and Harry Nilsson.

I bet youíve never heard those two names in the same sentence before. And itís not that this is a bad sound to go for, but itís a sound that really needs to be perfected to work and, sadly, Levitan doesnít have it perfected. Trying for anything that sounds like Harry Nilsson or the vaudeville styles of Queen or even Paul McCartney is a very precise art. Levitan knows what heís doing. He understands how it works, but he doesnít make it sound as effortlessly as Nilsson or Freddie Mercury do.

Also, his lyrics are something to desire. Again, they sound forced and like heís trying to sound poetic, but being poetic is about being honest and true. Lines like ďmust compose five songs by dawn/then into town for some foodĒ just grate against the operatic music that backs it.

With all of that said however, Levitan is far from a lost cause. He definitely has talent and he knows what he wants. With time I think he can achieve that, but he needs to relax and let the music flow.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars