Long Since Gone

Paul Madden

Forgetful Alien, 2008


REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Forgetful Alien and Paul Madden solo are almost the same thing. On Long Since Gone he does collaborate with drummer Rich Smith, although he would officially recognize this collaboration on his later effort Our Soul Hungers by releasing it under the “Forgetful Alien” band name and not as a solo effort. Smith’s role also in Madden’s music did evolve to handling duties other than just playing the drums. Long Since Gone, though, is all Madden with Smith simply managing the drum-kit.

Justifiably so, Long Since Gone does sound like more of a solo effort. It has the warmth of a singer-songwriter record: the melody-dowsed guitars played softly, drumming that’s only aesthetic and is not a bit overpowering, and the simple songs that invoke a mild sense of longing at best, and are easily palatable without being too emotionally stirring. Madden’s vocals too have an air of vulnerable breathiness.

This is an album that can be described as John Mayer meets Thom Yorke. The album’s Yorke connection stops right at Madden’s slightly unsettling shivery and alienated vocals; they don’t go far out enough to even come close to Yorke’s eccentric personality. And Mayer, on the other extreme, is way too buttoned-down and sane for Madden. So as a shy, unassuming, and certainly unconventional but not totally weird indie-rock album, Long Since Gone has a lot of attributes – more aptly – to share with the works of the Jeff Dimpsey/ Jeff Garber duo, National Skyline.

While Our Soul Hungers would yield a matured and a much more complex indie-prog sound, Long Since Gone is a simple guitar-based rock album. But its guitar-laden dulcetness creates just enough room for splurges into classic Pink Floyd prog-rock dreamscapes in subtle doses throughout the record, but more unmistakably on “Once There,” “World Come Undone,” and “If You Could Be Here Now.” The instrumental “Hippie Chick” is an occasion where the Madden and Smith throw a pleasant surprise with the song’s distinctly Tool (in its laidback psychedelic moments) guitar and percussive arrangement.

Madden sounds fragile on this record. But he doesn’t bear his heart and soul to the listener. He is a musician first and foremost and not a poet; Madden himself is not as important on this record as his music. For a man whose voice often plays like another music instrument, Madden knows that for his solo record, a singer-songwriter is not what he should sound like.

Rating: B

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© 2011 Vish Iyer 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 Forgetful Alien, and is used for informational purposes only.