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splendid > reviews > 2/1/2003
Les
Les
The View From Here
Self-Released


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Suddenly"

Buy me now
I am going to run right out on a limb (with scissors) and say that most Splendid readers aren't going to groove to this. Les, a one-man grunge act, makes fairly solid-sounding Modern Rock that he describes succinctly as "loud, but not noisy, epic alternative rock." All the usual trappings are present on The View from Here: big guitars and bigger angst. The permeating turn-off is that, though he sings in a fairly accomplished facsimile of Scott Weiland's voice, Les's music and lyrics are trite; this is paint-by-numbers, just-add-water commercial radio rock. "You played yourself," Les croons over and over at "Suddenly"'s end, with perhaps a little too much conviction and too little irony.

In fact, Les deserves points for being wholly heartfelt -- there isn't a shred of irony on the record, something that makes us music critics a little uncomfortable. Even so, it is a testament to Les's skills as a songwriter that he can capture the (admittedly canned) zeitgeist of the nation's major record companies, circa 1996, all by himself. Save for the aid of drummers Stacey O'Dell and Kevin Bregande, Les performs all of the music, and sings some pretty harmonies to accompany the lead vocals, too. But is this something you'll want to seek out? Listeners who like a little more edge may find Les a little uninspiring, but those moved by impassioned performances will probably feel a few hairs stand up on the backs of their necks.



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