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Joe Strell - In the Balance

In the Balance
All songs published 2007 by Satsuko (BMI)
Distributed by Dansbane Elandet, DEI-CAT-0003

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Jason Castro from American Idol will sound like this on his first record. It's hippie folk rock for the 'oughts.
reviewed by Chris

Americana UK

Quirky acoustic folk pop that you won’t be slashing your wrists to.

Sometimes you have to wonder about how performers want to be perceived, or maybe it’s how record companies want them to be perceived. The accompanying blurb with this CD says Joe’s work ‘evokes the work of artists such as Elliott Smith and Leonard Cohen’, before you go off thinking this is just the record to be playing as you prepare to launch yourself off that ledge, actually listening to the thing seems to suggest they’re going for the wrong pigeon holes there. Yes Joe plays acoustic guitar and sometimes the songs are a bit melancholic, ‘If Only It Would Rain’, for example, is pretty glum, but he doesn’t play or sing like Elliott, nor does he have the same intensity, in fact this record is quite poppy in places in a sort of slacker-ish Lemonheads manner (‘Making Senseless’ in particular).

As for laughing Lenny Cohen, yes, he may well be Joe’s ipod, but he’s not the person that comes into your mind listening to these mild mannered songs. Would Mr Cohen throw in a loungey xylophone based instrumental mid album? Or open a song with whimsical tweeting birds? Probably not.

Joe is a singer-songwriter with some quirky charms and this is his third record of acoustic folky-indie rock, it’s slightly better than not bad and he played everything on it barring a bit of harmonica.

Date review added: Thursday, February 07, 2008
Reviewer: Patrick Wilkins
Reviewers Rating: 6 out of 10
Related web link: Artist Website

The Chicken Fish Speaks Joe Strell - In the Balance - CD
(Dansbane) Joe has an acoustical singer-songwriter sound. While many of the songs on this disc are decent, they just don't stand out. I found myself enjoying the music, but the lyrics and vocals just didn't do a thing for me. I did start to gain interest on "Mood (Clown Noire)", which is an instrumental that is in the middle of the disc, however my player locked up and when I finally managed to get the disc out I noticed a big ding on the CD. Then while putting it back into its case I saw the puncture as evidence that an outside force caused the ding and thus making the rest of the CD unplayable. So what it really all comes down to is that I didn't find this release interesting enough to request another copy.
-- Mite Mutant (2008)

Dansbane Elandet
[Editorial Review]

In the Balance is Joe Strell's third release on the independent label Dansbane Eländet, following his 2005 debut Under a Mackerel Sky and the 2006 sophomore effort Enormous Morning. Embedded with his trademark hooks of gliding slide guitar, delicate ukulele, and shimmering mandolin, In the Balance comprises fourteen tracks that showcase the range of Strell's unique acoustic sound. Some tracks are lavish productions that resound with multi-part harmonies and complex arrangements, while others strive for stark minimalism, attaining a delicate intimacy that lingers like the scent of a summer shower (or haunts like the sting of love lost). To listen to this record is to embark upon an intensely personal journey with the meaning of love and life held in the balance.
NuevoRevolution.com Poetry and art that make's for music for the soul. Joe Strell's In the Balance CD runs for an hour. That can be a long running CD for some; however, you can't put a time limit on people's creative outlet. In The Balance is an amazing CD from beginning to end with the opening track "At Least( At Last)" up until the final track "A Lament for Love (Empathy)". Nowadays with a flooded music market, Joe Strell makes music holding no age limit for people to enjoy it. 12/30/2007

Joe Strell - Under a Mackerel Sky

Enormous Morning
All songs published 2006 by Satsuko (BMI)
Distributed by Dansbane Elandet, DEI-CAT-0002

babysue / LMNOP Review in progress.
TheChickenFishSpeaks.com Enormous Morning is interesting to say the least. The first track goes on with a decent folk rock style and vocals that grate on my nerves and repeat too much. The second song "Hole in My Shoe" is similar to a barbershop quartet with ukulele accompaniment. The disc heads off from there to a place when slide guitars and unsettled vocals blend over an accompaniment of bass and bongos. Overall the music isn't bad, it's just that the vocals get on my nerves. With a new vocalist I could see liking at least half the songs.
-- Grog Mutant (2007)

Dansbane Elandet
[Editorial Review]

Titled Enormous Morning, Joe Strell’s current CD expresses an awakening to a dawn impossible to reconcile with the weighty memory of yesterday.  Strell’s lyrical intensity provides a grounded counterpoint to the melodic blend of slide guitar, mandolin, and ukulele combined to create a unique album of catchy yet contemplative songs.  Laden with hooks and memorable melodies, this album blazes its own course across the musical terrain of alternative acoustic rock charted by the likes of Nick Drake, Elliot Smith, Josh Ritter, and Ray Lamontagne.  Some tracks are lavish productions with multi-part harmonies and complex arrangements, while others strive for a stark minimalism that strips alt pop to its bare bones, but all share an essential appeal that comes from a sincere effort to communicate something important. 12/15/2006
Hot Indie News.com

Joe Strell isn't too bad to have playing in the background, I'll say that much. His album opened with, "Art of My Existence", which wasn't too strong a song but the bass line was really good so I still was ready to give him a chance.

I had Joe on while I checked my email, checked my facebook, complained on aim about my room mates, fed the cat. I only noticed the songs changing because suddenly there would be silence. I vaugely had some sense of the songs changing besides mechanically doing it. None of the other songs really stood out at all, except "Art of My Existence" because it meant 'the album is starting' and "Again" because it meant the album was done. "Again" does have a bit of a haunting quality to it though that makes it ALMOST sort of different from the rest. But for this album, don't even waste yr time downloading it. Just wait til it plays in the background of the next movie you watch. -- Jen Klee 12/3/2007

NuevoRevolution.com Soft, alternative, adult contemporary artist Joe Strell has put together thirteen tracks for Enormous Morning. Enormous Morning is not going to have a huge impact on the music industry. That's not to say the record is horrible, but with a million independent artists like Joe Strell the market is already flooded. I enjoyed Enormous Morning, however there is nothing to make it stand out from the others. The record is based on singing and simple guitar playing that the soft rock genre is known for. The lyrics are outstanding throughout Enormous Morning. The final track "Again" is one of the highlights from Joe Strell. I found the actual song structure with the lyrics to hit the spot for the Adult contemporary audience. 10/13/2007