Brian Vogan’s “Happy Valentine’s Day” is the coolest, bounciest song ever composed for the artificially sweet holiday. It and “That’s How A Pumpkin Grows” are the only two cuts from the Seattle singer-songwriter’s appropriately titled 2008 debut “Little Songs” that remain an integral part of our musical library. That album, while immensely pleasant then, has suffered since from an overall lack of umph. Vogan’s follow up, “Sing a Little Song” does not and it’s a 200% better record for it.
His new music, made with a band of “good buddies”, is akin to floating peacefully in a warm pool dappled with sunshine squeezing through the branches of a giant oak tree. That’s not to say “Sing a Little Song” is filled to the brim with hush-hush tunes, but the feeling of warmth is undeniable – even when the tempo accelerates. Vogan’s eager songs receive lush treatment his 2nd time around the kindie block thanks to the addition of the backing band. This move is rooted in the theory that bigger is better, and in this case at least, that is totally spot on. Having his friends around pays huge dividends on “Sing a Little Song” because the instrumentation, along with Vogan’s already emotive voice and the handsome production – all the components really – are richer, more evocative and will result in a longer shelf life. “Sing a Little Song” is a giant step forward.
The title track is sheer joy – a moonbounce for your ears, the boy/girl sung “How to Fly” is an indie rock gem (kind of a less-Scottish Belle and Sebastian song), “Tow Truck” needs nothing more than barbershop-quartet-style vocals and finger snaps to please, and “Last Thanksgiving” continues Vogan’s mastery of seasonal songs and shows off his wry humor with lines like “If I’m the biggest turkey in the entire state / there ain’t no way I’m ending up on a plate.”
“Sing a Little Song” is a wonderful collection of all-ages tunes from one of the more quietly promising artists in the kindie rock community. Considering the growth from album 1 to 2, I’m expecting #3 to dazzle – no pressure though 😉
**Listen to “How to Fly” and “Cross the Street” in their entirety on Brian Vogan’s Facebook page.**
*Brian Vogan’s “Sing A Little Song” was provided to OWTK for review. The opinions above are unbiased and true, no arm-twisting took place in the review process.