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Review: 'Rodrigue, Dylan'
'Cat's Game'   

-  Label: 'Bad Paintings / Palomino Records'
-  Genre: 'Folk' -  Release Date: '25th January 2019'

Our Rating:
Dylan Rodrigue’s biography reads like a classic tale of a boy born to make music, having begun ‘playing guitar and writing his own songs at age 8, studied classical guitar in high school, and eventually obtained a degree in songwriting and avant-garde composition at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)’.

At the ripe old age of 26, he’s already amassed a wealth of experience as both a guitarist and singer, ‘performing with alt-country bands (currently with Sie Sie Benhoff), complex math rock/hardcore bands, and a 13-piece travelling vaudeville band’. And now he gets to deliver his solo debit, which boasts ‘a variety of musical settings, from stripped down acoustic folk, Neil Young inspired electric guitar rock, and Stooges-esque punk’.

It’s the stripped-down style that dominates much of the album, giving the songs an intimate feel, as if it’s just Dylan and his guitar, playing to you. This is accentuated by the lyrics, which, whether strictly autobiographical or not, ring with a sincerity and emotional honesty that carries conviction. ‘I’m sick of being broke all the time… sick of living alone, making love to myself / while I know you’re up and making love to somebody else / I’m sick of living’, he croons forlornly on the slow piano ballad ‘Living this Way’.

And when he goes for it, Rodrigue really whips up some energy: ‘Money Game’ is a proper stormer, hell-for-leather drumming powers a rush of guitar, while ‘Minimize the Damage’ brings a Neil Young / Dinosaur Jr vibe, a cracked, vulnerable vocal delivery juxtaposed with a backdrop of big, scratchy guitars.

Rodrigue brings together a sense of worldweariness and innocent musical simplicity, and does introspective and reflective without slipping into self-indulgence. And for that, I salute him.

  author: Christopher Nosnibor

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Rodrigue, Dylan - Cat's Game