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Brian Donahue

Brian's face, and a mic.

Strangest Love

I first heard Brian Donohue as the guitarist and lead vocalist for the horribly underappreciated emo-rock band Glori-H. Their first and only album was a masterpiece of emo, with truly anguished vocals set to backdrops of crushing emo soundscapes. Glori-H's self-titled debut is to emo what "August and Everything After" by Counting Crows was to indie rock- a monument that just can't be toppled.
I was immensely saddened when I heard that Glori-H had broken up, but I was consoled when I heard that Brian Donahue was setting out as a solo artist. I heard a few tracks in advance, and although they were softer (much softer) than Glori-H, they were pretty good.

I did expect this album to be softer; I did not expect it to be a drastic departure from Glori-H's music. Unfortunately, Instead of being in charge of a blazing guitar and a powerful set of vocal cords, Donahue has switched to a nearly Adult Alternative stance, yelping poppy, somewhat upbeat songs over mellow-esque guitar lines. This works well in some songs, but often it goes cringe-inducingly astray: "Useless" turns his trademark wail into a pinched whine, "Stewardess" shows him being overly sentimental, and "Today Was My Home" is just an awkward song altogether.

Best Element: "The Waves".
Genre: Adult Alternative/Mellow Emo
Label: N/a
Website: www.briandonahue.net

The best tracks here are the three tracks that sound like lost Glori-H songs; not just because I love Glori-H so much, but because they're truly the most sincere, creative, and interesting. The sinister "Strangest Love" features a strong guitar line, signifigant bass contribution, tactful drums, and a vocal line that made me proud to be a Brian Donahue fan.  "Melting Ice" is a brilliant song as well, featuring gruff vocals that complement the song perfectly. Despite these two, the best song here is the bleak "The Waves", where his new sparse sound combines with Glori-H's permeating discomfort to create something much better than both genres; the subtle guitar lines and the disconsolate call of his vocals are truly transcendent and beautiful here. 

This is a hit and miss album, as has been painted. I really love the three best songs here; I skip the three I hate; I occasionally listen to the other three. At least it's an even split. There's hope here....much hope. If nothing else, find a way to listen to "The Waves".