Bryan Masters
"Thundar The Boy Giant"

(Digital Boy Records 2002)Bryan Masters - Thundar The Boy Giant

Charming and a cool change from the music that seems to be blared at you from all directions -- car stereos, television, movies, commercials, et cetera -- Bryan Masters' "Thundar The Boy Giant is a collection of acoustic guitar only songs as well as plugged in combinations of country, rock and folk songs with lyrics just as memorable as some of the music.

"Grace," the album's opening track has a decidedly religious feel that could frighten away listeners with no interest in religious music. But such a judgment on the album would be incorrect as following the easy feel and nice melody of "Grace" comes the catchy and fast paced acoustic of "You Again" with Masters' constantly working the song's dynamics and wishing "I could fall head over heels/For you again." This time completely acoustic, "Miss You Sundays" is a nice and simple guitar and vocals song. And the ridiculously positive "Leap of Faith" plugs in the guitar and adds bass and drums among other instruments for a fuller sound than the previous acoustics and adds an understated guitar solo.

Masters, obviously, has some country in him. On "Two Flattop Guitars," he shows this clearly with finger-picking guitar, banjo and harmonica among the song's assembled instruments as Masters sings about "Just two old boys and/two flattop guitars" that might fit Neil Simon's "Odd Couple" based on Masters' description ("One's a son of a gun and/the other's a doggone slob/So they work a little and they argue some"). "Thunderhead" reminds the listener of "Leap of Faith" while the ballad "New Blue Canoe" is sure to confuse city folks with its metaphors. The gloomy but empowering "My Turn" tells the tale of a collection of characters who have been hurt by love, such as Crystal who "Sits home with a fistful/of Vicodin and beer" and is "romantically retarded." With plinking piano and thumping bass, "Goodbye Kiss" might be the hardest you hear Masters on this album and it turns out just as nicely as his quiet acoustic tunes. Unsurprisingly, Masters returns to a ballad and with "Last Song," the last song he'll ever write for an unnamed muse.

"Thundar The Boy Giant" offers a range from whispered ballads to dancing rockabilly. While the track listing alternates from acoustic to plugged in, Masters keeps things interesting throughout with humble and down to earth lyrics.

B+

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