Greg Laswell

Everyone Thinks I Dodged a Bullet

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While heartbreak isn't necessarily an unexplored topic for Greg Laswell, his moody seventh LP, Everyone Thinks I Dodged a Bullet, feels particularly haunted. Solipsistically handling every task except for mastering and some fine cello parts played by Colette Alexander, Laswell stretches out in his isolation, delivering a lush, icy breakup album. The parameters of loneliness allow for a pretty wide range of emotions, but throughout the album's ten tracks, he seems to be stuck in a single mode of detached reflection, often cloaking his troubles in vague witticisms. On the album's opener, Laswell intones "Everyone thinks I dodged a bullet, but I think I shot the gun," a clever turn of phrase that would cut much deeper if he didn't continue to beat the listener over the head by repeating it a dozen more times. A synthetic glaze permeates most of the tracks, which generally comprise luxuriant synths, piano, and electronic beats. At its best, this treatment paints a nice wintry landscape across a standout cut like "And So I Tried to Sleep," but more often than not, it acts as a barrier putting too much distance between artist and listener. In the case of a track like "Out of Line," the production is simply uncomfortable to listen to, with an overwrought digital astringency that works against the song. Laswell is a strong melodicist with a knack for sweeping cinematic pop, and he does manage to end on a high note with the closer "Not Surprised," but overall, the album feels like a rather cold misfire.

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