...Packed with great melodies.
Helen Groom 2007-05-24
Frontman and songwriter Jamie Hartman’s voice is striking. Striking in that he sounds eerily like Rod Stewart. Sometimes that works to the band’s advantage, and sometimes you have to remind yourself that you’re not listening to a tribute band.
He sounds best when accompanied by simple piano lines, strings or an organ – simple clean arrangements that frame his voice perfectly. But occasionally you wonder what Hartman would sound like if he really let rip – would he be as raucous as Rod?
If you’re looking for something with some edge or bite, then Beta Male Fairytales is not one for you. It is the kind of album that could happily play in the background to whatever else you are doing, sometimes demanding your attention, but mostly washing over you in a soft, undemanding, pleasant way.
Tracks ''Bad Dream'' and ''Time ''stand out from the rest, and are sure to be a hit with those liking Paolo Nutini and Norah Jones. The highlight of the album is ''I Am Who I Am'', which is genuinely beautiful in both its melody and lyrics. But others such as ''Carry On'' sound as if you have heard them a thousand times before, and not in a good way.
To give Hartman his credit, he does know how to write a chorus that sticks in your head, as shown on ''Find me an Angel'', ''Live'' and first single ''Rise''. And all of the songs here are well crafted, building inexorably to their peaks.
There is nothing wrong with this album. It is perfectly pleasant and is packed with great melodies. It simply feels like it's lacking a bit of passion and pace. Then again, the band have only been together for a year and this is their debut album. Maybe their second offering will have a bit of kick to it.