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the pathetic caverns - music by artist - Swerdlove

eclectic reviews and opinions



(self-released, 2004)

Dear Swerdlove,

You are probably going to think that this is personal, but it's not. I'm never sure whether it's meaner to ignore a CD like yours, or write about it. But you should work with a producer who has a good ear. Vocal pitch problems are painfully evident in the first minute of your album, and both lead and backing vocal intonation are shaky throughout. If you're going to bend strings to hit notes (as in "Felled Trees"), make sure you can hit the notes you're bending to. Shorten all the solo parts, and think about removing some of them. I hope you can eventually find your own voice -- your influences are obvious enough, but even with more consistent performances, you won't become a college radio titan yourself unless you bring something new to the mix. Speaking of titans, the logo (on your web site and stickers) has got to go -- it screams "heavy metal." Even worse, it looks a bit like "SwordLove," which makes you sound like a band of Middle Earth geeks (honestly, I'm not at all sure about the name, although I'm sure you've got a lot invested in it at this point).

The news isn't all bad. The front cover of your CD looks pretty sharp and doesn't make you look like a metal band. Producing yourself is always hard, and vocal production is hardest of all. It's no surprise you couldn't pull it off without some help. Pitch issues aside, your mix isn't bad -- everything is audible, it's not too muddy, and you have some variation in dynamics, tones, and mood. If you found someone objective to say things like "That was flat, try it again," and "I think the solo would have more impact if it were half as long," your next record could be a lot better. Hope you take this in the intended spirt. I know it's harsh criticism, but I do hope it's constructive.

Sincerely, the Pathetic Caverns.


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