by Greg LaswellGreg Laswell


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Landline, Greg Laswell's 2012 follow-up to the celebrated Take a Bow, may sound less tortured than its predecessor but there's plenty of pathos to go around. Recorded in a small church-turned-house that belongs to his in-laws, Laswell couches his songwriting in what he perceives to be adventurous production. He listened to many hip-hop records before he cut Landline, and the sound of its drums, loops, and synthetic percussion obviously enchanted him. But this is nothing like a hip-hop record. The album's first single is its opening cut, "Come Back Down," a duet with Sarah Bareilles (loudly trumpeted by Vanguard Records). Its crunchy tom-toms, repetitive piano riff, and Laswell's monotone vocals introduce it. Bareilles complements and elevates them by injecting emotion with her friendly style. The most compelling thing about the track is its lyric content, which may disguise itself as an admonition, but is instead a thinly veiled indictment of a subject who's hurt the protagonist. It comes to a big, nearly cinematic climax. There are three other collaborations with female vocalists, including "Back to You" (Elizabeth Ziman of Elizabeth and the Catapult), the jaunty "Dragging You Around" (Sia), and the closing title track with his wife, singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson. It's the last of these, a ballad, which works best -- though all of them work nicely. It's relatively simple; her voice with its plaintive appeal is a fine contrast to Laswell's angsty one. Tracks like "Nicely Played," with its insistent percussive layers, and "I Might Drop By," with its waltz tempo and blurred wash of instruments -- save for a piano which is crystalline -- have appealing hooks. Most of these songs have what it takes to get attention from radio programmers and online tune purveyors. Laswell's growing number of fans will be drawn to his "new" sounds, his studied hooks, and emotionalism; taken as a whole it feels like an album whose songs feel like they were written for poignant moments in film soundtracks.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/08/2012
Label: Vanguard Records
UPC: 0015707820028
catalogNumber: 78200
Rank: 118863

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Greg Laswell   Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Percussion,Piano,Strings,Electric Guitar,Electric Piano,Tambourine,Vocals,Shaker,Piano (Grand),Guitar (Electric Tenor),Guitar (Tenor),Piano (Upright)
Greg Collins   Synthesizer,Bass
Jerry Roe   Drums,Guitar (Baritone)
Sara Bareilles   Vocals
Elizabeth Ziman   Vocals
Ingrid Michaelson   Vocals
Brandon Walters   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Daniel Rhine   Bass

Technical Credits

Carrie Smith   Layout
Greg Collins   Additional Production
Brian Henry   Cover Photo
Nicole Martin   Management
Greg Laswell   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Engineer
Ingrid Michaelson   Composer

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