The greatly anticipated debut album from singer/songwriter Bryan Titus has finally arrived. It is a labor of love and the result of many years hard work… and brother, it shows.
The album opens up with the deliciously mischievous A Little More, letting us know to expect the unexpected. Already we get a sense of the enormous personality of Bryan’s vocals, not to mention that great sense of fun so obvious to those who have seen him perform. Then we ramp it up for the stirring song from whence the album gets its name, only to slow it down with the anthem-level You Got Life. The song order manages to showcase Bryan’s diversity without being jarring, and as each song progresses we are lulled into the sense that anything goes, and that’s okay.
“Anymore…” is dedicated to the memory of Bryan’s father, so it’s appropriate that it ends with a chilling cover of the Alice in Chains classic Man in the Box. More than any other track, this one really displays the emotive quality of Bryan’s singing, as well as certifying his strong rock roots. It also further cements his ability to pull together a variety of genres into a cohesive record… Or show, or house party, or secluded field, or whatever. Seriously, the guy plays everywhere. There is probably some little green guy wearing a Titus shirt on Mars. He’s certainly been playing up a storm around L.A. for years, relying on word-of-mouth and fierce online support to gather his ever-growing crowds of adoring fans at locally cherished venues like the Mint, House of Blues, and Harvell’s. I’m happy to report that his studio of choice somehow managed to translate his charisma to track, thus providing you and I with an authentic listening experience so often lacking in contemporary popular music.
In addition to his outstanding vocals are the lilting slides/balls-out riffs of the versatile John Weed, and the masterful rhythms of drummer Jeremy Miller. Both of these musicians truly understand Bryan’s music, and it makes each track both cohesive and interesting. Just listen to relevantly titled A War Inside to see what I mean; as John’s guitar sidles alongside Jeremy’s marching snare (think Paul Simon), the tune grows all the more meaningful by the reinforcing of its theme. Then listen to SMC student favorite Numb to get an idea of their impressive range, a skill that grows increasingly important in the 15-second window of the modern world. Throw into the mix Will Weissman’s brilliantly understated bass lines to keep it all moving forward, then add a bit of fantastic production and lush vocal harmonies, and you’ve got a fully dynamic sound that manages modernity without forgetting its roots.
While I could harp on for a while about the incredible performers and engineers involved on “Anything…”, put together on a shoestring budget with a lot of old-fashioned elbow grease, the overall vibe is one that places excellent songwriting absolutely front and center. It is impossible to overstate just how much the world needs more music like this. I give this album 5 indie stars out of 5.