Split Personality - Reflections

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Cobbco Music
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 49:39:00

Split Personality is, essentially, Brian Cobb, as he plays guitars, bass, keys, and drums, does the programming and sings. Nick Haddad aids Cobb on a few tracks by contributing acoustic guitar. Imagine if you will, Rick Davies fronting a Rush cover band. The music itself hints at Rush's overall sound without Cobb sounding exactly like Peart as a drummer or Lifeson as a guitarist, but the bass and keys come close to the sounds produced by Lee. And yet, Cobb's voice sounds as if he spent a lot of time listening to 60s UK rock like The Kinks and 70s UK punk. This is stronger as a musical document than it is as a lyrical one, and yet even that shows potential. I have to admit, though, that I don't care much for Cobb's singing. "Music In My Head" is what might result if REM let a classical pianist sit in for a bit, while they played a Davies composed and sung tune -- that is: big, countrified guitar with a slight twang (think "Stand"), nasally, off-key (and off center) vocals, with tinkly piano (via keyboard) bits. Also, this is very much DIY, with that kind of raw sound.

Cobb has a very direct way of writing; and reading his lyrics, he is inviting everyone inside his head and into his catharsis. All but two songs begin with "I" as the first or second word. And, in fact, nearly every stanza starts with "I." How much more personal can you get? Reflections is a concept album of sorts, beginning with "Outside," where Cobb examines such topics as "Trust," "Fear," and "Courage" ... or rather the lack of, though "Fear" is an instrumental track. These are the external forces tearing at the...protagonist. The companion component is "Inside," also broken in to parts, this time five: "Dreams," "Desires," "Focus," "Never Tell Me," and "Inside" (the internal forces). "Desires," sounds like an early Tom Petty track. I think it's the strongest piece here, overall. A song that could have kitsch value but doesn't really get there is "The Bite Me Song." For it to work with a title like that, the lyrics needed to be little tighter, a little more sardonic and sarcastic. Though there are some clever turns of phrase here that, as someone who loves clever turns of phrase and loves the ambiguity of the English language, make me chuckle. "I was once in a band..." the verse begins, leading to "They played in the garage next to the garbage and sat on their cans..."

I don't have very much else to say about this release. It is very much self-indulgence, though he doesn't indulge himself in an overly produced sound. Saying that last bit isn't meant as faint praise; what I mean by it is that the sound is very stripped down, at least compared to some of the other symphonic, lush stuff I've been listening to. That is, he hasn't overindulged not having an outside entity to answer to. Which is the advantage of being an independent artist - you can follow your muse wherever it takes you. But sometimes, you need to second guess your muse. Although it doesn't fall into the progressive category of music, I haven't held that against it.

Outside (12:54): Part 1: Trust - Part 2: Fear - Part 3: Courage / Reflections (4:57) / Music In My Head (4:51) / Palindrome (7:27) / The Bite Me Song (3:54) / Inside (16:56): Part 1: Dreams - Part 2: Desires - Part 3: Focus - Part 4: Never Tell Me - Part 5: Inside

Brian Cobb - electric, acoustic and bass guitars, keyboards, drums, programming and vocals
Nick Haddad - acoustic guitar (1, 3, 6)

Reflections (2001)
Fractured (2005)

Genre: Rock

Origin US

Added: June 26th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.digitalchemistrymusic.com/SplitPersonality
Hits: 416
Language: english


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