The fifth and latest review from Mike and Aaron Go to Toronto…Again! Aaron gave me this CD…thank you dude!
This is also a SIMULTANEOUS REVIEW! Aaron has reviewed the same album today: take a look!
I’ve wanted to check out some solo Paul MacLeod for a while now. I’m a huge fan of the one and only album he released with Hibakusha, the best album Rush never made. Gauge is not like Hibakusha. Gauge is an acoustic record, a format that does not always appeal to me. In this case, the attraction was immediate. These songs are incredible.
The proceedings commence with the old-tymey fun of “Be My Girl”. Even though it’s a MacLeod original, it sounds like it could have been written in the 1930’s. I love that about it. If you put scratchy record sounds over it, you might not be able to tell it’s actually from 2011. “Change Your Life” on the other hand sounds more contemporary. It has a hymn-like quality to it. It’s very serene.
“December” sounds almost as if it was recorded live. I’ll point out MacLeod’s excellent picking skills here. He lets his fingers speak. Then, the song “Hero” sounds like something that would be excellent in an electric band format. It boasts big verses and a catchy acoustic riff. “The Trickster” is whimsical and lullaby-like. MacLeod lends it a theatrical flair with his expressive voice, which seems to change from song to song. The funny thing about that is, just as I’m really getting into all the different voices he can use, the very next track is called “Instrumental”, and that’s exactly what it is. It’s also just lovely. “Stop” is delicate, much like the preceding instrumental.
“Another White Band” is different yet again, upbeat this time, with an incredible chorus. Again, I can’t help but think the song would benefit from an electric version. Then, the final track is “It Belongs to You”, a sad sounding ballad. But check out that guitar melody and chords. They are transcendent, to me. There’s something pure and classic about them.
Boy, am I glad Aaron gave me this CD. Thanks buddy. This is one that, I suspect, is going to grow near and dear to my heart.