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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Brandon Wiard
Painting a Burning Building (CD)

Weird. Wired. Wiard. Word. Wizard. A feast of words beginning with W for your fancy. And perhaps more than one of those describes Brandon Wiard's brand of raucous and bouncy, synth inflected powerpop music. But I'll be mysterious and let you decide for yourself which ones are fundamental to his style. Having played in bands through the years, the Michigan native turned solo in 2001 and certainly has made quite a name for himself in the intervening years if the press clips that accompanied the disc are any indication.

The music on Painting a Burning Building is really excellent in terms of hitting a musical stride that combines Elvis Costello (a pretty easy comparison to make, even without the press sheet, especially on the song "Caroline") with the gleeful wackiness of Fountains of Wayne. Like the Fountains, everything is heavily rooted together with a pretty strong pop stucture and sense of orchestration, while remaining quirky enough to be played heavily by college and indie radio. What, you haven't heard about Fountains of Wayne? Come now, they won a laughable Grammy for Best "New" artist, some five or six years after they were really starting to showcase their popster talents. They also did the theme music for the movie "That Thing You Do". Now they play them on the radio in the Gap(TM). The reason I'm making such a big deal about them is that, hell, it takes an eternity for the stupid scuttlefishy music buying public (or lame ass Grammy board of directors) to see a really good thing, and that's if they EVER see it. So, if history is any indication, Brandon Wiard will win a Grammy about five or six years down the road for best new artist. But in the meantime those indie and semi-indie folks who don't want to wait that long get their fill of some really fun, inventive and eclectic songs right godamn now.

- review by SHORTY (11.26.04)        

Cerberus Records
PO Box 335
Tecumseh, MI 49286

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