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Album Review: “Almost Sentimental” by Ted McCloskey

Posted by Samantha Hatfield on 09/01 at 10:20 AM

Grade: A-

Almost Sentimental is the sixth album from State College musician, Ted McCloskey. Within the confines of its 15 tracks, the many musical sides of the veteran musician are not so discretely exposed. From its inception, the album is a representation of McCloskey’s dichotomous musical personality.

The opening track, “Dancing As Fast As I Can,” is an upbeat, catchy tune that has an almost nostalgic rock aesthetic with its intense guitar work. McCloskey’s husky baritone is striking from the first note and continues to impress throughout the album. On “I Can Feel You”, McCloskey’s voice grinds out with an alt-rock edge.

Stitch By Stitch” and “My Own Millionaire” are amazing tracks with rock flair. Something about “Stitch By Stitch” really draws the listener in and that something could definitely be the expertly crafted hook: “Stitch by stitch by stitch I’ll make you a perfect fit.”

Borrowing a musical lick from The Doors with an opening that sounds strangely similar to their “Touch Me,” McCloskey crafts a great track with “Cheat Me Fair.” The track has some great moments of dissonance, but also contains a bit too much resolution on the verse, which taints the otherwise great song. The juvenile melody of the verses is poorly composed and is the only part of the great track that needs a little rewrite session.

On “Feeling Kinda Rough” McCloskey adds piano, a very welcome sound within the album.  There is something about the extra piano flourishes that reside within the composition that adds wonderful color and depth to the track. Perhaps, McCloskey would consider adding more piano in his future work. 

In opposition to much of McCloskey’s rock sound, some of the tracks where he slowed down the pace and chilled out his sound were really effective. Seeing another side to the rock artist on “Tell Me Something Pretty,” “The High Water Mark,” and “Ten After Eight” gave the album a feeling of completeness. McCloskey found a great balance of deeply moving musical composition and a strong sense of story and lyric. On “The High Water Mark” McCloskey croons:

“This is the crest, the drunken success. The wave in full bloom, the most breathing room. // But water cascades and everything drops. And without even knowing, I start overflowing. // Overflowing the high water mark.”

This is truly some of the most honest and beautiful lyric of the album.

Too Much To Dream Off” is another of McCloskey’s slowed down tracks with plenty of acoustic guitar but also glimpses of his harder rock side. The beautiful acoustic opening gives way to a grungier sound before backing off again into soft vocal and acoustic. The almost drunken lullaby has a great juxtaposition of the two sounds and making the listener feel as restless as McCloskey. This is the perfect closing track for McCloskey’s Almost Sentimental as it is the perfect representation of the album title.

Ted McCloskey is a musical veteran who has developed a voice within his music that shows great range in musical style.  I personally cannot wait to see McCloskey play a live show in downtown State College.  Perhaps, I will even try to catch his show this Friday at The Phyrst.

Almost Sentimental is available on Amazon.com:

 

{name} Author: Samantha Hatfield
Bio: Samantha is currently a senior double majoring in Broadcast Journalism and Theater. She is a perfectionist with a penchant for writing, video production and music. Ever since seeing Weezer live at the then “Tweeter” Center at the ripe old age of 12, she has been hooked on live music and developed a voracious appetite for new albums and bands. Some of Samantha’s favorite bands include: Bon Iver, The Raconteurs, Florence + The Machine, Band of Horses, Cage the Elephant, Ray LaMontagne and the list goes on.

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