Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ten Months Later, We're Talking Acoustic

There are times when I would love to be able to just sit down and talk to some people. Today, I would want to sit down and talk to the lads of One Night Only; let me tell you, I've got a couple of things to give them a talkin'-to about. I was thinking about this and it immediately registered as blog material. So, here we are.
At first, my annoyance was at the fact that their latest EP is only available on iTunes UK -- and that this EP included the video for Chemistry, which has been buried in the sands of music video time since last year.

We've waited a year to see this, and NOW you tell me there's a guitar swing (2:40 timestamp)? Somehow, that erases those 365 days. By the way, when are the fabulous variations on the French comb-forward coming back? Can they? Please?

The video aside, I finally got a minute to go on YouTube and listen to the acoustic versions of some of the songs on the EP itself. Just as predicted in a post on this very blog (dated November 16, 2010) Chemistry was re-recorded.
If I may quote myself for reference:

There is also an acoustic EP of some of this newer material in the pipeline, and that will certainly help boost sales. Folks do love their acoustic (and, let's be honest, I'm one of them... it isn't my fault, my sister played a lot of Simon and Garfunkel when I was small). I know I love to see the difference in the bare, stripped down versions (since, in essence, it's how most songs start out), compared to the electrified finished products. Sometimes, the acoustic is just incredible, and you wonder why it was pumped up at all (George Harrison, I'm lookin' at you), but most of the time, you'll go back to the final product.
Would you like an illustrated example?
Well, pretend.

We're going to skip past the discussion of the album version, simply because I can't find a video on YouTube. If you want to read it, click that link up thar! comparison with this stripped down, bare bones, acoustic guitar and vocals only version...

Try not to fall in love with it too much, though; I have a feeling that, if this were to appear on their EP (and, let's be honest, it probably will), it would end up more like this...

Really, can't the French comb-forwards come back? Surely I'm not the only one that misses them. I blame my anachronism mind.

Well, of course, Chemistry was on the record, along with a few other songs from the eponymous album released last year. My previous prediction, however, was way, way off.

Buh-wutza? Are you sure this is the same band?
Did I not prove in a post from ten months ago that these lads can do acoustic? Not only can they carry it off, but they do it bloody well; furthermore, they've always had the potential to do it splendidly...

This was the B-side to their very first single, "You And Me", back in 2007.

I listened to every track on the EP, and let me tell you, some of them sounded remarkably like elevator music.

Don't get me wrong, I have a tendency to dislike a "new sound" from a band I like: Wonders of the Younger (I'm sorry, my dearest Mr. Higgenson), Dirty Work (oh, for shame, Mr. Gaskarth!), but there is a difference in these examples compared with One Night Only's EP: after getting over the initial shock of "EVERYTHING-IS-DIFFERENT-WHY-DON'T-THEY-LIKE-ME-ANYMORE-WHAT-WILL-I-DO-NOW?!" the sound is basically the same, and you end up assaulting the replay button. Sure, there are differences due to growth as an artist, but the material is pretty much what you should expect from that band/songwriter. This EP? I'm not so sure. There are two lovely versions of the same song -- acoustic, yet different -- prior to this release. Was there some kind of agreement with Burberry that they wouldn't infringe on an "exclusive"? (Would that even be possible, since publishing rights trump recordings themselves?) What was so difficult about not over-embellishing? Have these guys never listened to ANY George Harrison demo? The alternate version of "Isn't It A Pity"?
My first inclination is to not blame my ears, but ask a couple of questions: 1) who in hell produced this? 2) who mixed this? 3) what were they thinking? 4) as we talked about in that post I've referenced, is this just another case of influence, rather than natural progression as artists?
Let's face it, we already know that there is some poor management going on. With little activity from the social networking resources (not to mention that their YouTube channel is now one of those weird "by request" things now, which eliminates LOADS of potential fans, not to mention cutting off access for several folks in an already existent fanbase), minimal information on touring, lack of updates about the "breaking of America", and the fact that two of their three releases (not including singles) are not available in the US, I get the feeling that something is off kilter. Earlier this year, there was supposed to be an exclusive US release -- they re-recorded "Just For Tonight" especially for it. Sure, there was the Coke ad, which is a major plus, and some promotion/touring for that, but what else are we privy to? Whatever we can make sense of from George Craig's Twitter? Good luck with that.
With all of this being said, what would I actually say if I had these guys in front of me for a chat?
Why did you ditch the French comb-forwards?

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