Miss Adam Duritz? Well, here’s the next best thing: A self-indulgent, slightly nasal, singer-songwriter with an extraordinary ability to turn whining into terrific lyrics and to make you feel nostalgic for HIS life.
If any of that sounds insulting, I don’t mean it to. It’s just that this album reminds me, in a very strong way, of Counting Crows. I’m a huge fan of the Crows, but I recognize that the band’s catalog is basically just one long vent by Adam Duritz about how people don’t love him nearly as much as they should, or as much as he loves himself. He wanted to be Bob Dylan, after all.
Aaron West is fronted by Dan Campbell of The Wonder Years, a band I’m not familiar with, and the album Routine Maintenance is a collection of original songs about licking wounds after a barfight, reuniting with childhood friends, being in a band and wanting to be bigger…Country themes with straightahead rock. “Runnin’ Toward the Light,” which speaks of “honest songs,” should also remind you of Bruce Springsteen. “Rose and Reseda” will make you feel like you lived his life with him, with terrifically detailed recounting of past adventures. “God and Billboards” evoked some the stylistic beats of Pink Floyd’s more traditional rock songs. Yeah, there’s a lot of stuff you’ve heard before here–but it’s done very, very well.
It’s a really good record. I’m quite certain most reviewers will find it harmless and tepid, but that’s what they said about August and Everything After–and that album became a monster hit. If we were back in the days when radio mattered, I”m quite certain this would, too.