Neil Jacobson is a singer/songwriter from New York. On January 5th 2021, Neil released his fourth solo album titled “Sliver Park”. We took a listen to it, and here’s what we thought!
The album kicks off with “I’m Trying”, a start that reminds us immediately of the Black Crowes before heading into a Kenny Wayne Shepherd groove. Groovy little ditty, the music is pretty good. Vocals however are a little iffy at times with lyrics cramped to fit and the off note here and there. What’s really cool about this track is there’s an excellent distorted guitar with some tastefully placed modulation in that mix in the choruses. A decent start with plenty to enjoy.
Track two is “Top of My Cycle”. A little AC/DCish start, vocals are again – slightly off and don’t quite match the music. Once more, the music is truly great. The one redeeming feature of the vocals are the harmonies. The choruses need more to it, cause it really feels like it should be bigger – perhaps some Hammond Organ underneath or some Synthesizer pads just to let it. Not really noticing much bass in the mix, there are times where we can hear it but it just sounds like the track is just drums, guitar and vocals. There is so much potential to this track that is sadly missed.
Up next is “What the Animal Looks Like” – good start. As with the previous tracks, musically – this is great. Great synth textures compliment this track really well. Around the two minute mark, there’s some kind of guitar solo but it isn’t very tight so the groove gets lost a little bit – the bass was just a smidge too busy and the guitar track was too quiet to be defined. A tiny bit of crunch (or Blues Driver pedal) on the guitar would have resolved it. The last minute or so is really great though.
“Voodoo” might be our favourite track. Vocal performance finally matches the music. Excellent groove, fantastic progression. A lot to this track, excellent use of synth here. Around 2:30, there’s a good bridge that goes into an excellent guitar solo before returning to form. This is definitely a stand-out track. Killer amongst the filler.
“Brand New Product” has got some serious 80s qualities to it. The effect on the vocals at the start don’t work, but then just shy of the 1 minute mark it gets better. A bit of an Arcadia vibe to it which isn’t a bad thing but you’d need less distorted vocals. They need to be clearer, multiple layers, add some delay but just a touch. The overall composition holds up well, but there is so much space not used up to add emphasis to certain sections. An alright tune.
Track six is “Laugh Out Loud”. Excellent groove in this tune, good start. The problem with this album is that almost every time a track sounds like it is about to totally kick off – it doesn’t. Given the excellent music behind each track this one suffers the exact same fate. The choruses need to totally kick off here and they don’t. There is a lot of potential to this track which is still pretty good, but it could be even better. “Laugh Out Loud” is definitely our second favourite track on this album.
A little bit of acoustic now with “Lightning”. The drums are brilliantly done here, spread right across the mix to massive effect. The vocal performance on this one is definitely the best on the record thus far. Again, this track suffers from the “takeoff tease” that the rest of the album seems to consistently have – so many times we thought this was going to kick off and go even bigger but it doesn’t.
Number eight is “Victim of Poor Choices”, acoustic and drums start this tune. It wastes no time at all in getting started, big strings in the back. Bit of a Whitesnake vibe here around two minutes in but only briefly. While there are many elements to this track to be hopeful with the journey, it never quite satisfies to a worthwhile degree.
Finally we have “My Own Murder (Revisited)”. Now this is interesting, it goes in a completely different direction to how you’d expect. There’s an 808 providing the drums and for the first time there are moments where the vocals are drowned out by the accompanying elements of this track. The melody of the vocals occasionally remind us of “Highwayman” but this isn’t that, oh no. We aren’t fans of where “my own murder” is sung and then it drops off – go big or go home we’d say. We’re a big fan of the groove though, but this tune might be a minute too long.
Overall “Sliver Park” is a decent effort. Though this album can be described as a “takeoff tease” whereby the composition sounds like it is about to go huge but falls shamefully short. The music itself is excellent with many memorable moments that musicians will take great pleasure in listening but as to whether or not the average listener will find this album listenable, that remains to be seen. Despite the shortfalls of the vocals, the album itself remains an enjoyable experience. “Sliver Park” is mostly filler, occasional killer.