(Dead Oceans)

Entertainment Today Sep CD Review Series


When "Pride" arrived for review I put it in and was instantly taken aback.  I have never heard an album that sounds like this.  An evangelical-country pop album isn't a normal format someone goes for.  Every song is rich in sound.  Every sound is placed to take full advantage of its nuisances.  Soft acoustic guitar with harmonica layered behind haunting choral vocals that float above singer Matthew Houcks gentle voice, however it doesn't sound jumbled or out of place.  All the pieces feel not only well placed, but necessary for the piece to be complete. "My Dove, My Lamb" is an extremely heartfelt and sensual song; yet while Houck's delivery is soft-spoken and sweet, the choral accompaniment pushed strong and powerful.  It's pretty easy to tell that this is a Southern Boy making this music.  It drips of country revival church sing-a-longs, and simple values and virtues that is rarely seen nowadays.  The music isn't convoluted with complicated "I'm trying to act smart by throwing words together that don't make sense"- At the Drive-In esque lyrics and the orchestrated melodies aren't over produced or diminutive to the song as a whole (however the song "Pride" is a spastic and out-there jaunt from the rest o' the disc).  This is a great release by an artist that will definitely give the Polyphonic Spree a run for their money.


Entertainment Today Sep’07 CD REview Series


Mark Johnston, a native Californian, has travelled the world with various circuses, sideshows, and arena rock tours. As a musical monkey he has delighted fans the world over. Upon his return, he has since founded the Atomsmashers Publishing Company, written 2 books in the company's Warm Horchata series, created a weekly comic strip based around LA's more "colorful" characters, written reviews, articles, and rantings under various pseudonyms; this has since culminated in Johnston being named Captain Fabulous by the Superhero Association of America.