Kalispell singer/songwriter Luke Dowler has come out with a great new CD in the rock vein. The young man, who has film and online music credits, possesses an expressive voice, and uses it well here.
Dowler calls his music “alt pop with huge chorus hooks and an everyman approach,” which describes it well. He plays bass and guitar, while his brother, Zach, plays drums. Mark Dorflinger provides trombone, piano and organ, and string arrangements are by Jacob Yoffee.
Swelling notes and crisp drum work open “Coming Alive” as Dowler’s breathy, emotional baritone sets the pace. “Hey Boy” finds Dowler admonishing a friend to treat himself better; it has rockin’ and fuzzed-up chunks of guitar, the six-string broiling on the chorus.
The title tune is thoughtful, slow, yet powerfully driven (“We live our lives just to spite the other side” ); and “No One Else” has a hip sensibility with a cool guitar break a la Lindsey Buckingham – this one’s a definite hit.
“Perseus” starts clear and sparse, just before the drums barrel in. It speaks of living life with the exhilarating rush of a street protest. “Oh, I wanna riot, ’cause I don’t wanna burn out quiet” and “I want a soul like a kerosene cocktail.” There’s a lyric for you.
“Collider” enters with sweet strings, moody and pretty, as Dowler shows his great range and emotion, and “Umbrella” is downright pop, with its snappy, jazzy beat and ba-da-da sensibility.
“Something Good” is rock-steady, and has yet another catchy refrain.
Dowler has a spot-on feel for writing songs that seem familiar the first time you hear them. That’s a talent, folks.
In “Big Sky,” Dowler demonstrates his ability to get right to the nut of a subject, with great melodic visuals. How about: “There’s a bullet hole, deep inside of every soul; you’re so beautiful when you fill the space between.” The danceable melody gets the toes movin’, and, one hopes, other parts, too. I like this guy.
The album features smashing production as well. Visit the artist at www.lukedowler.com.
– Mariss McTucker