Jamison Bethea is a singer/songwriter from North Carolina who doesn't seem to give a hoot about fitting into a genre. His thirteen-song album Drum Breaks and Broken Strings is about as varied as a pawnshop. Some songs sound like commercial pop while others are rooted in blues, R&B, rap and even electronic. The album is inconsistent when listening to it in sequential order. With that being said a majority of the songs work on their own merit.
Bethea wrote, produced, mixed and mastered his own music on this album. There were definitely a couple of production issues but nothing that would make you cringe. His vocals needed a bit of polish in the form of compression and reverb, and the music sounded convoluted when there were a lot of instruments playing.
The album starts off with “FML,” which is sounds like a mix between Sublime and Jack Johnson. Bethea strums chords on an acoustic guitar as big-sounding electronic drums provide a meaty low end. The song ends with intersecting vocal harmonies before coming to a close. The humorous “The DJ Stole My Girl” is a fast-paced song that is stuffed with a lot of instrumentation. It’s a light- hearted song that implements elements of dance music such as the steady kick drum and classic house build up.
“Social Media Blues” is exactly what you think it might be. Bethea sings in a classic cliché blues type of voice about Social Media including Facebook and Twitter. Bethea plays a pretty vicious lead guitar and I wouldn't have minded a whole album in this style.
Other songs such “Seashells” revolve around an old school smooth R&B style while “Monster” has some straight up rapping. As the album progresses Bethea experiments with different atmospheres but at its core all these songs are about his voice and acoustic guitar.
Overall, Drum Breaks and Broken Strings is lengthy and disjointed but it also has a number of decent songs. There is a commercial appeal about the music that certain music fans may appreciate.
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