REVIEW – Donny Brown of the Verve Pipe – Hess Street EP (Something Else Reviews)

As founding member and drummer of the Verve Pipe, Donny Brown certainly sports an admirable pedigree. His accomplishments have continued in the form of a solo career, and here on his freshman offering, Hess Street EP, the Michigan musician’s creativity reaches some pretty lofty heights.

Ruled by Donny’s plush and polished vocals that soar, sway and sparkle with color and elegance, the five track disc is further amplified by tight and enterprising rhythms. Stirring choruses and arresting hooks also pierce Donny Brown’s sharply-creased songs. Strains of the Beach Boys, Badfinger and Billy Joel may arise now and again throughout Hess Street EP, but bold blasts of originality never fail to prevail.

Propelled by an innocent bounce and wave after wave of melodious movements, “Lucky Number” gets Hess Street EP off to a perfectly poptastic start, and “The Night I Fell For You” gushes with the kind of emotional power and pristine shine heard on classic ballads. A strummy folk guitar, aided by clawing breaks circles the environment on “The Driving Song,” and the toe-tapping vaudeville shuffle of “Call Me” (complete with the underwater sound of a megaphone) is so authentic that images of dancing flappers, Speakeasies, and bootleg liquor are bound to appear before your eyes.

Taking its title from the name of the street the Verve Pipe’s Donny Brown grew up on, Hess Street EP reins right in as a striking debut recording. Clearly frothing with ideas, Donny wasted little time putting together his next disc, Donny Brown, which has recently been released and is an ideal companion to its predecessor.

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