Album, Single and EP Reviews


  Wonder City by J Allen

Wonder City cover art

Artist: J Allen
Title: Wonder City
Catalogue Number: No catalogue number
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2012

The downbeat opening of “O My Love” with its opening phrase of  “I think I’ve been here before…” does not fill this ‘Bunny with hope for a fun listen, and it’s all I can do to not reach for the razor before the first track is finished. I did however manage to get through the whole CD, and this review isn’t being written in bunny blood.

Let’s deal with the sound first: There is evidence of real-world sounds being used, an underground train here, the scratch of a record there; it’s just a shame that more care hadn’t been taken when recording the rest of the CD. I noted that everything, all the instruments, recording and mixing, is credited to Allen, and I think this is part of the problem – without a different set of ears added to mediate between J.Allen and the CD, the record sounds more like a vanity project rather than one to be released and listened to by others. The sound of the acoustic guitar, the base for every track on the album, has a brittle quality and this along with drums and vocals which sound like they’ve been recorded in a toilet cubicle create a harsh sounding record lacking in any warmth. And at times the poor guitar sounds like Allen is not so much strumming it as bashing at it while wearing boxing gloves.

Apart from a rather cheap sound, the record involves such navel gazing, self-interested lyrics that it is difficult to work out if the CD will be of interest to anyone apart from J.Allen himself (and perhaps the terminally depressed).

Review Date: August 7, 2012