Album Review: Crawford Mack – Mack 1 (Winner NewMusicFriday Ep 18)

Crawford Mack defies genres, so it might be easiest to put him in a generic “rock” style. There is a base in classic rock, for sure, but then shades of other pop styles and even a bit of jazz. It’s an eclectic style, sure to make a lot of fans of music that is equal parts curious and inviting.

The opening track to this EP is “Oscar Romero,” a mysterious and intriguing track about a cultic figure. The lead character sounds like the Most Interesting Man in the World. A bit of a James Bond type that people are drawn to. I’m not sure the story behind the story at all, but the dark musky tones of the music make me wonder if it’s serious or satire. Either way, it’s intriguing to listen to and evokes many images of iconic pop culture figures.

“Central Station” shows of Crawford Mack’s incredible vocal chops. The run at the beginning of the song comes across like no big deal, but it’s really difficult to perform. Each lyric, in fact, comes across cleanly and adeptly. Mack performs with a nonchalance throughout the album that defies explanation. It’s the kind of effortlessness that I’m sure reflects hours of hard work. That said, Mack channels pop references and stylistic choices into some really genuine and interesting songs.

I love the opening electric riff on “Willow Tree.” It’s a welcome change of space from some of the other tracks on the album. The lyrics are a bit more poetic, with more of a romantic appeal to them. The slow soft rock style may not be Mack’s primary style, but it works here. He can do heartfelt just as well as he does the toe tapping style of the other tracks on the album. His vocal style builds on the track, resolving strongly on the chorus, singing about the title tree.

The final track “What’s For You Won’t Go by You” is a nice pop rock song that moves along nicely. The lead vocal is strong again and unsurprisingly. The gang vocal on the chorus is a welcome adaptation for the last track on the album. There’s something celebratory in the tone of the track that I really enjoy. It’s about a complicated relationship and navigating some of those uncertainties. The song twists and turns with a pop rock sensibility that provides a satisfying end to the album.

It’s hard to put a “listen if you like” on Crawford Mack because he really blazes his own trail. If you like pop rock music he’s worth a listen. Each song takes a different perspective on life and really tells a special story. If you’re looking for a fresh take on an iconic rock style, Crawford Mack is a great choice.

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