Gentlemen Reg has been a great addition to the Arts & Crafts roster; a very self-aware musician who writes fantastic tunes, Reg is probably one of the most underrated artists of 2009. I know Jet Black
is the most overlooked album; it was a superbly compelling collection of carefully crafted songs, and it nearly blew me away with its dual listenability and momentum. But I've already said this.
As a big fan of Jet Black
, naturally I was all over reviewing the small, end of the year EP by Reg, and he doesn't totally disappoint those familiar with his style. Heavy Head
includes three previously unheard tracks, as well as two interesting revisions (remixes of classic Jet Black
numbers). The great "How We Exit" is given a bit of extra bass legs a la channeling some Outkast, and the driving "We're In A Thunderstorm" is scaled to a trance number, much more subtle than its original version. And somehow its all still soaked in the sincere styles of Reg, whose wishy-washy voice adds a lot of character to the detailed songwriting. Seriously, only this guy would write a song with minimal lyrics: "Where is the reason/don't blame it on me/blame it on my wild heart" and sing it over and over adjusting instrumentations and harmonies to keep things interesting.
All in all, its a slower paced effort, but GR excels in the arrangement of his songs, not necessarily anything gimmicky or quick footed. The importance of properly constructing layers and sounds is often lost in the power-pop stratosphere, but not with Reg. This is just more proof that he knows how to be consistent, and he knows how to make our heads nod to even the slowest jams. -joe puglisi
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MP3: Gentleman Reg - "Wild Heart" (Backspacer)
Gentleman Reg on Myspace