Nashville resident Glenn Brown, aka The Revenue Man, has put forward his debut album ‘25 Years Behind’. The album, recorded at Back Holler studios in Tennessee and mixed in Los Angeles, leaves you to wonder as to the nature of producer Tim David Kelly’s input given his background in rock and metal – and perhaps explains why this record can sound a little disjointed to the genre, somewhat unsure of direction and carrying a tonality that like the record title is perhaps 25 years behind.
It opens with ‘My Own Eulogy’, a very direct but honest number. During interludes it deviates off course without the aid of Brown’s voice and within those moments finds complacency in some of the rudimentary aspects of music. The source recording of the drums, without the layers of echo on it, sounds somewhat dull and the guitar like it has been plugged straight into the desk – whether that is down to experience or lethargy is uncertain, but surely if you are heading in to a studio, mic placement should warrant more consideration. To its credit though, Brown justifies himself with an honest account of life’s stories bringing us back round to the hooky line “Have a round this one’s on me, I’ve written my own eulogy”.
We move on to ‘The Reasons Why’, but the mix is muddy and the track as a whole lacks any real life or lustre. The drummer remains fastened to the ride cymbal and the best part becomes the outro.
In contrast, the title track, ‘25 Years Behind’, displays far more sense in terms of its arrangements and gives Brown’s voice a chance to breathe while displaying a stronger melodic appeal. Where other songs have something of a more elementary grounding in terms of the guitar playing, this tune examples good use of melodic notions and swings along contentedly, with Brown’s voice bringing warmth and an added depth to the lyrics.
Again, ‘Tennessee Sunset’, co-written with Denny Rudolph, offers that same melodic strength. Perhaps sitting a little more on the pop side some may find the lyrics a bit generic compared to Brown’s previous writing. ‘Peace Love and Understanding’ is also a strong addition even if it an interpretation of the Elvis Costello classic.
‘Arlos’ Stories’ lifts the tempo with another co-write, this time with Troy Breslow, whilst ‘Things’ elevates about the same amount of inspiration that the title suggests during which the dynamics flatline and again brings that somewhat outdated tonality to the record.
Concluding this short 7 track album are a couple of standout songs, but strong though Brown’s voice is, you wouldn’t be faulted for thinking that some of this could have been recorded from home and the record as a whole suffers from the lack of a cohesive working relationship between those involved.