Kissing Rock Stars

Breck Alan

Independent release, 2001

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Breck Alan confuses me. Part Captain Beefheart, part folk balladeer, Alan seems to straddle two unique (and polar opposite) dimensions of pop music. Yet his six-song EP Kissing Rock Stars manages to walk that line well - and even dares to attempt to draw these two worlds together.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Granted, such a combination isn't the easiest thing to get used to. The opening track "One More Day" proves this, going from a gently-sung chorus to the vocal growls of the verses. But the more you listen to this collaboration between Alan and Charles Reeves (the engineer who, with Alan, plays all the instruments), the more you realize that they've pulled it off. It took guts to tackle such a combination, and it took talent to succeed. Alan and Reeves clearly have both.

Other tracks on Kissing Rock Stars prove this without a doubt. "A Man And His Beautiful Wife" is a beautiful yet poignant portrait of unrequited love - and the unlisted acoustic version of this song runs rings around the already-good electric track. Likewise, "Who" and "Appropriate" both shine in their own ways, each dealing with human emotion and desires in different portraits.

About the only track that doesn't click is "Don't Mess Around" - another attempt at merging two distinct worlds of music. It's not that this track is a failure; indeed, there are many redeeming qualities about this song. But Alan just isn't able to work the same kind of magic on this one as he did on "One More Day" - and while it's not a bad song, it isn't quite in the same league as other tracks on Kissing Rock Stars.

I don't know whether Kissing Rock Stars was supposed to be a concept piece, or if Alan intentionally went out to write an EP on love and the human condition. Whatever the case, Alan makes a strong case as both a songwriter and a musician, and proves he is supposed to be a paradox in the present-day world of custom-molded music. Here's hoping we'll hear a full-length project from Alan in the near future.

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Rating: B+

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© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Independent release, and is used for informational purposes only.