Album cover

Through Toledo

Hometown CD Review 12-22-05
Album: Through Toledo (2005)

Super-subtle indie rock describes singer/songwriter Greg Laswell's second album. Laswell used to front the Escondido-based alternative-rock outfit Shillglen. On this disc, he continues his success as a solo artist, this time sounding more like Chris Cornell than Eddie Vedder.

The 13-track album brims with a convincing down-to-earth charm and is laden with blustery choruses that speak of life, love, and uncertainty. Sullen guitar chords provide a lush background for each of Laswell's ballads. At times the album's moderate tempos come close to sounding like Death Cab for Cutie or Coldplay; each cut has a languid, lo-fi appeal to it.

Laswell's fusion of indie-rock hooks and ambient background noise gives the music a surging, ethereal intensity. He pens his best lines in "Come Undone": "Sleep my love while I come undone / and I'll embrace myself when you're done / Sweet dreams my love / take them on / while I absorb you and what you've done." The CD hits a few snags because of the repetition found in the airy guitar chords, but it's nothing that can't be overlooked.

The amount of contemplating Laswell does in the 13 songs makes the CD come across as a concept album on self-identity. The melancholy mix of acoustics and evocative vocal performances runs the gamut of loneliness, admiration, and desire. The man does a good job of serving up earnest apprehension in an engaging melodic form without cheapening it with overtly marketable antics.

1. Sing, Theresa Says
2. Amazed
3. Worthwhile
4. Do What I Can
5. High and Low
6. Same as You
7. Through Toledo
8. I'm Hit
9. Long Way Around
10. Come Undone
11. Your Melody


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