Livingrom Doesn’t Miss on Don’t Shoot The Messenger!
When four gentlemen get together with a bass guitar, a couple of (predominantly acoustic) guitars, a keyboard, and a drumset between them, there’s no telling what they might come up with collectively. In the case of Livingroom on its latest release, the 10-cut album Don’t Shoot The Messenger!, its an innocuous brand of pop that can’t be helped in even the most daring moments of the LP.
A lot of that simply has to do with the voice of lead singer Lev Sheinfeld. It has a purity still spangled with the inflection of youth that simply sounds easygoing, like something you can hear adorning the soundtrack for Disney movies—which isn’t a bad quality at all. It’s anachronistic at times, such as during the intro for “Mickey The Daydreamer” and for a good part of the rest of the tune, as well. He sounds like a 40’s or 50’s version of Old Blue Eyes, especially with the sumptuousness of the melody that he floats with a timeless attractiveness.
Still, one of the predominant characteristics of these tunes is these young men rarely do the same thing for long. Doesn’t matter if it’s a drum pattern (“Keeping Time” runs through at least three of them), groove, riff, or chord progression. Invariably, there’s some point at which the foursome abruptly stop—sometimes to pick it back up again, oft times to venture into a new direction.
“Time”, for instance, is an upbeat affair that out of nowhere slowly digresses into a much more leisurely tempo, before rocketing back to where it was. It’s as if the band’s trying to make sure one’s listening, or perhaps just keeping themselves from getting bored.
The unequivocal strength of the album is the keyboard work of Sheinfeld. Oftentimes it haunts the intros of the tunes, as is the case on “August 11” when he switches things from some sort of organ to synths with the trippiest effects, including a few which manage to festoon his vocals. But the keys are oftentimes the main drivers for his singing, and are equally as saccharine in composition and ambition.
That description holds true for “Easy”, in which the lead singer is joined by a female guest vocalist. Overall, …The Messenger! sounds like it was a fun album to make and to play, as well.