Local Record Review: 'A Simple Song' by Justin Soileau

Beat Blvd. is Heard Mentality's weekly review of local releases. If you're an OC musician or band with something new to offer--vinyl single, full-length album, CD, cassette--we want to hear from you! Send copies, along with any photos and PR material, to Beat Blvd., c/o OC Weekly, 2975 Red Hill Ave., Ste. 150, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. You can also e-mail digital downloads to lbose@ocweekly.com.

Justin Soileau
"A Simple Song"

Texas-to-OC transplant Soileau has made the most of his move over the past few months, settling into musical life in the county with his debut EP, The Heat, as a calling card, playing at a variety of events and venues including the Orange County Music Awards, as well as putting out a free compilation of various unreleased efforts from the past few years. But his recently released demo, "A Simple Song"--which is just that, and that's not a criticism--is his first to be recorded in OC, a classic bedroom effort (as well as, as he describes it, "the Starbucks down the street" from his house.)

"A Simple Song" is another example of Soileau's aptitude at combining upbeat musical sentiments with often darker lyrics--not that it's a tale of flat-out despair, but when you consider the first verse is about a phone call helping rescue the narrator from a drunken binge and worse, a summer pop hit this isn't. But Soileau's love of piano-led pop/rock in a '70s, post-Beatles vein remains paramount, down to the peppy organ break. Given the chorus is all about how the titular object is the kind of thing that can pull someone out of a rut, it's a gentle, appropriate way of having one's cake and eating it, too.

As mentioned, it's a demo--the music is clearer than the words when it comes to recording quality--but the charm is all intact. Various performances are forthcoming around the county over the next couple of months, so keep an eye open for whatever comes next from Soileau as he keeps putting down roots in a new home.

"A Simple Song" can also be found on SoundCloud and YouTube.

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