Money Mark Brand New By Tomorrow [Brushfire]

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Rating: 3.0

Is this a Pearl Jam outtakes record culled from their recent self-titled album? Switch out the open avocado with a wooden ghetto blaster and the album cover is almost exactly the same. This CD, however, has nothing to do with Eddie Vedder and his hard rock cohorts. This is a fellow who goes by the name Money Mark, not Marky Mark, and his fourth album lies on the opposite end of the spectrum from any brand of aggressive guitar based rock (or hip hop). The newly released Brand New By Tomorrow often comes across as the kind of music that you would hear at low volume in the summertime when attending your bosses fourth of July barbecue.

At best, Mister Money Mark comes across vaguely sounding like mid-sixties Beatles. Some of the vocals are reminiscent of George Harrison and they are even treated in a similar way. “Color of Your Blues,” the first song on the album is an example. The vocals are not too soft and they are not harsh or annoying, but they are not commanding either. His voice bares nothing unique in it and he certainly does not have the conviction or genius that Harrison had in his prime. Of course, that is a feat that rarely comes across in music, especially throughout the past decade so we can forgive him. “Pretend to Sleep” is a slow number that tries to be doleful, but does not succeed in moving the listener. In much the same way, the title track is kind of a nice melody, but the lack of emotional drive or energy pushes it into some kind of adult soft rock category.

At worst, the record is about as boring as elevator music. The instruments used could conjure up a mix of great music, but the delivery is so safe and unconvincing that it makes Brand New By Tomorrow altogether forgettable. There is generous use of piano, both acoustic and electric, along with some slightly jazzy drums and rhythms, but the more of this release that you hear, the more it begins to sound like something that only middle aged hippies and people who exercise in shopping malls would be interested in.

This record is not exactly awful. I guess that you could call it pleasant if you were searching for a suitable adjective. Fans of G-Love and Jack Johnson, who both appear on this album, would probably think that this is terrific material, but then again these people would most likely rather be at a sports bar watching a pre-season baseball game than listening to music.

-Andrew Boe

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