This will turn out to be a second (and longer) helping from a monoblogue music alumnus – I reviewed a single from a previous EP last year – although at this point in time only the title track is available for listening or watching as a video. (The remainder of the four-song package is slated to come out this coming Monday, January 28.)
So how about the “Sum Of All Parts” as an album? Well, the title track seemed like a cynical look at a relationship but turned out to have a happy ending. It’s a very accessible pop song that should find a lot of interest if the radio industry will allow it. That’s backed up by the acoustic open to Failure Is My Friend, which turns out to be a bouncy, almost country-feeling entry into the adult-contemporary field.
The weakest song is Bone Dry – while it has nice slow-to-fast transitions that I liked, the most annoying part is hearing (loudly) the fingering of chord changes on the acoustic guitar. It makes the song seem underproduced and not thought through for some reason. (Otherwise, Mark had the sense to use Dan Fisher of Audio Heart Records – the label this will be released on – as his producer for his second EP after doing so on “Spirits.”)
The closing track of Highs And Lows is a good closer to the collection, blending a touch of country-rock in with his continental sound. It works well with his voice and probably will be a popular tune when Mark embarks on a six-week run of live appearances around his current home in Austria, a tour that will also have a lengthy run in Germany.
Aside from the modern-day marketing strategy of releasing just a few songs at once as an EP rather than the old days of 10- or 12-song albums with a handful intended as singles and the rest there to fill out the record, Mark reminds me of a ’70’s throwback in sound and feel. (Younger members of Gen X and Millennials – let alone any of my Gen Z readers – will have to go find a ’70’s pop music channel and listen for a couple hours to notice the arrangements and styles are distinct from those prevalent a decade earlier or later, let alone nearly a half-century now.) Maybe it was a little different in Europe, but either way Mark seems to me a 1970’s throwback – he even has a little of that look, but fortunately not the awful style of dress – and it’s Saturday. (Regarding those ’70’s styles: trust me, none of my late elementary to junior high pictures are going on Facebook.)
But when this comes out Monday – and assuming Mark quickly adds that to the title single that’s already on Spotify, although he has a very nice website, too – those who like the sort of station “you can listen to at work” because it has the sort of music that’s honest and not just about beats and bass should give this a chance. And who knows? If there’s enough interest, maybe he’ll give this side of the pond a go.