Definitely a tough one to review…I gotta give Luca Bash some real credit for challenging my ears and brain for true acceptance with this new EP. On the one hand, there’s a beautifully gifted songwriter and musician…on the other is one struggling to find the perfect tones of voice to match the music. Listening to Luca’s work, I’ve got nearly zero doubt that Giova Pes started on anything other than guitar originally; you can audibly hear the incredible connection to the instrument through the gorgeously flawless & melodic parts he’s written. I’d be willing to bet that Luca eventually chose to add vocals…but I’m thinking that in terms of his music it was the last piece to be added. That strong connection to the guitar and to the song-writing itself comes out a little more securely and confidently than the vocal performances for the most part on Single Drops…but nothing that should make you not want to give this new EP a chance; put it on, turn it up and let’s talk about Luca.
Stream “Single Drops” in full:
The first thing to fall in love with during the opening of “Your Tomorrow” is the sweet-sounding, perfectly played & written guitar work. It’s sparklingly gorgeous and really delivers the emotional impact that drives this song forward. Building subtly, it’s a great choice for an opener; “Your Tomorrow” is a very sweet love song. As for the vocals, this opening number is bound to confuse a few earholes in their quest to process Luca’s voice. At his best, he’s nearly a dead ringer for the tone of Elvis Costello…there are a few choices in tone on several lines that I might have had another look at, but the writing, pattern & flow itself is incredibly beautiful.
“Forever Like Asleep” starts out with a very clever guitar line and a vocal sound that starts out cool & confident – I dig the opening verse on this song and think Luca did a better job fitting in there. As it breaks into the bridge and chorus…I’m not as convinced. I still think he’s doing a great job on the music, but the vocals here are tough ones. He hasn’t written a part that’s beyond him – Luca can pull this off, I just think he needs more time to nail it. Though the bridge comes out a little shaky, the power is still there…the focus then shifts to the tone in the chorus, which is pulled-off successfully albeit a little awkwardly, and the power has also left Luca’s voice as he struggles to hit the perfect tone for the song. So…this tune, for me at least, is a tough one to call complete as is…I’d be willing to be money that Luca already feels like he could go in and nail this one tighter in the vocals right now. “Forever Like Asleep” plays a little more like a demo or idea than it does a fully realized vision as it stands.
Do keep in mind that Luca Bash is also singing to us all in a language other than his own Italian from his home in Rome, Italy. So…in that sense, you gotta hand it to the guy; I’m sure he sounds much better in English than I could in Italian. And it’s not that he’s without moments of redemption – they just come in later on throughout the Single Drops EP.
One of those moments is right in the middle with the song “Dear John.” Luca finds a complex & sweet, excellent rhythm on the guitar and rides it smoothly all the way through. Getting the most of the emotional connection between the words and performance, Luca sounds confident on “Dear John” and actually uses the slight variations of his Italian accent to his advantage. Bash allows his words to bend, cut and break sweetly overtop of the captivating guitar work…”Dear John” is where you can hear that the wind is beginning to fill the sails and this EP is starting to turn the tides completely for Luca. I love the guitar around the 3:30 mark…it’s an isolated and sweet solo that really works perfectly and leads to a fantastic break back into the verse from Luca. Taking it emotionally, personally and extremely strongly to the end…I’d say “Dear John” was the first song to convince me beyond the writing itself…Luca could very well harness his natural ability and talent by the end of Single Drops…let’s see what else he has in store for us in the final two tracks…
“Little Tale” was another tough one however and almost in a harsher condition for success after the completeness achieved in “Dear John.” There are moments in “Little Tale” that are inarguably the best of Luca Bash on the entire EP; but that being said, the vocals come out a little uneven again in the very beginning of this song. Almost in an odd way of setting yourself up for success…it almost seems like Luca uses this iffy opening of “Little Tale” to fuel the strength of his performance in the second half of the song. For me, the switch happens at just before the two-minute mark…it’s like you can hear the focus return to Luca and he puts in an incredibly emotional performance right through to the end. It’s a little darker than the previous sounds…structured almost similarly to our own Canadian Matthew Good. Luca expands his vocals to heights not even close to attempted in the previous songs in a very inventive run towards the end of “Little Tale” – it’s a great sound and one that you’ll truly wish he’d explored more. The final thirty seconds of this song…Luca, my man…talking to you directly right now…you listen to those thirty seconds and know that right there is the comfortable sound you’re looking for – it’s perfect and delivered with confidence, heart & real emotion.
Bringing up the energy, tempo and taking us to the school of acoustic-funk for the final cut “Black Swan’s Walls,” we get a completely different side of this duo and the song-writing efforts of Giova and Luca together. You can hear the influence of the Dave Matthews Band here on this track as Luca brings a jazzy-rasp to the clever vocal-flow as Giova puts precision guitar-work into “Black Swan’s Walls.” Does it work? To tell you the truth…I don’t know! What I can tell you, is that every time it came on it certainly put a smile on my face and was completely enjoyable every time I heard it. I think the combo between them just needs a slightly fuller sound, which could be easily achieved by bringing the levels on Luca down a little to blend more into the music, or of course there’s always the option of an additional player or two to flush out the sound.
Watch the video for “Your Tomorrow” here:
Because there are some really great songs here from this acoustic duo…and I think just a little more push in the future, a little more focus from Luca on the right tones and energy…there might just be something extraordinarily beautiful to come out from these two in the future to come. As it stands now, Single Drops serves as a good introduction to the sound of Luca Bash and I think there’s potential for these two to do something great down the line.
Find out more from the Luca Bash official page at: http://www.lucabash.com/
Jer@SBS – http://sleepingbagstudios.ca/