March 23, 2004
ONELINEDRAWING [I]THE VOLUNTEERS[/I] REVIEW
Any ambitious emo solo artist who cites Dashboard Confessional as an influence but not Onelinedrawing is severely misguided. Jonah Matranga's accomplishments with these last two Onelinedrawing records bear a likeness to John Samson of the Weakerthans, in terms of substance that by far outweighs the hype that goes with it. This is just his second album under this name, but he's established a signature of quality that ensures I'll buy any and every Onelinedrawing record from this day forward without a moment's hesitation or the urge to preview it for quality. It's impossible to state with any certainty that this is Jonah's best work to date; his potential was fully realized by the time "Visitor" came out two years ago. "The Volunteers" is more of the same in the most positive sense of the term. The lyrics are beautiful, and Jonah's voice is still the envy of any male who wishes he had the ability to sing.
The faster, and harder-rocking songs on this record sound more like the material that appeared on the New End Original disc a few years back. There's a strong Gin Blossoms-esque mid-nineties alternative rock sound to tracks like "Over It" and "We Had a Deal". Many of the other songs like "Livin' Small" and "As Much To Myself As To You" are quaintly solemn and minimalist. They're produced in such a way that you can smell the dusty vinyl and see the turntable spinning in your head. The latter of those songs is the album's finale, and by far my favorite track; it's the closest I've ever heard to the vinyl experience captured on digital.
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