|review by Ashley Graham|
|I cannot necessarily explain why Michael Tolcher's debut album I am has grabbed me as it has. Perhaps it’s the innocence of the songwriting. Perhaps it’s the clarity of the tracks. Perhaps it’s because it’s not like most of what I’ve been buying lately. For whatever reason, I adore it.
Tolcher’s album begins with “Mission Responsible,” the perfect lead-off track which encapsulates what Tolcher will be doing throughout. It is upbeat, it is energetic, and it grabs you. It leads into “Sooner or Later,” known to teenagers as “that song from life as we know it,” ABC’s newest teenage drama. The song is good and its lyrics are refreshing.
Tolcher’s writes from the perspective of a reflective adult; he writes about looking back at adolescence fondly and looking to the future with hesitancy but confidence. His songs are inspirational in the most genuine of ways.
The album has its down moments. Tolcher can barely get me through “This is What I Mean by That” and “Taxi Ride Kinda Night,” but he manages. Sometimes the lyrics are a little on the cheesy side and sometimes Tolcher’s little quips during selected songs, case in point track eight’s “That’s the one, you found it right away, found it right away,” will get on your nerves. Overall, though, the album wins by way of its sincerity and honesty.
This album isn’t always original, but what album is? Tolcher is building on the singer/songwriter tradition with a fun and carefree philosophy of playing music that captures both of those elements. And he more than succeeds. In concert he is a little bit of a goof, but he takes his music seriously and the album reflects it.
If you’re stuck on the latest albums of your independent music heroes, then Michael Tolcher isn’t for you. But, if you’re interested in trying something new, and are maybe even open to liking something off your normal path, then give him a try. Tolcher’s website, www.michaeltolcher.com, should give you a good idea of what you think.