Alvin - Everything's Gonna Get Better
Owain Paciuszko 30/03/2010
Opening with a driving piano line that straddles Keane and Mika like a terrifyingly bandy-legged pop jockey, isn't exactly the most arresting start for this four track from Belgian singer-songwriter Alvin, in opening track Silence. Elsewhere the title track throws in electro melodies, like a C64 version of Los Campesinos!, it's playful beat works better than the more traditionally pop-rock opening track; though the choruses are a bit flimsy and saccharine.
Alvin, like Mika has an expressive voice, but similarly fails to wrangle it fittingly to his songs, merely throwing out changes in pitch and tone with no regard for song-craft and pleasing arrangment, instead it feels like he merely is eager to show off his range; which on the one hand isn't a bad thing, but when it creates an awkward listening experience the song suffers when, if sung with more artistry or restraint, perhaps it wouldn't flounder so.
The Sky Is Blue is a pop-ballad, where Alvin's voice quivers with a fleeting resemblence to Devandra Banhart, and in this slower moment he manages to orchestrate things with more skill; helped greatly by co-producer Marco Locurcio's elegant bass and jazzy drumming. Closing track A Moi is sung in French and waddles in the piano-driven, electro-pop-rock field, but in French there's a little more grit to Alvin's voice and though he doesn't exactly re-invent himself, the end result in certainly more pleasing overall than the other three tracks.
If pop-rock, specifically Mika and his kind, are your bag then perhaps you should give Alvin a listen, but there's too little on this debut EP to really grab the attention.