22 Sep 2018
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Lincoln Greene - Album Review: The Lincoln Greene Project

16 Jan 2018 // A review by Peter-James Dries

Jimmy Hazelwood, actor and purveyor of acoustic folk, has recently released a new record, but not as himself. This time Jimmy is stepped into the role of Lincoln Greene, bringing you the debut album from this pseudonym, the aptly title The Lincoln Greene Project.

This is my second foray in as many months into the world of Actor-cum-Muso. And there have been a few horrible examples of Actors being sold as Musicians; Kirsten Dunst, David Hasselhoff, Jared Leto.

This though, is the first time I’ve seen a musician that just happens to be an Actor playing the role of a musician and making music from that character.

Sure, a lot of musicians are actors stepping into roles, the ones the mainstream markets to us at least, and a lot of the time for marketing. And there are actors playing musicians in movies. And there have been a few horrible examples of Actors becoming Musicians. Kirsten Dunst, David Hasselhoff. Then there’s Dethklok, but that’s a cartoon.

This is different. I think I see the underlying purpose here, and it isn’t a cash-grab.

Singer-Songwriters can get into a rut sometimes, always singing about the same subject in the slightly different ways, with the same old guitars. What better to escape than to become someone else for a day, and write as they would. To branch into all the possibilities electronic instruments offer.

I had a friend once, a musician, who got into theatre. He said he enjoyed it because he didn’t know who he was, but when he was playing a role, he could be told who he was, and he know how to be. This Lincoln Greene Project is probably a bit the other way around. Jimmy Hazelwood, I imagine, knows exactly who he is. This is an opportunity to explore someone he doesn’t know as well.

As a modern human, still under the illusion that my preferences are my own, I can choose to pass music off as “Not my Tempo” In the words of J. K. Simmons’ character in that film Whiplash, and quickly forget it.

However, as a music reviewer, it is in my interests to look beyond my personal preferences and explore the potential of music that is almost always outside my chosen genre.

Although something doesn’t fit within my particular aesthetic, which is to say dark and gloomy, it doesn’t make it completely without merit. I don’t know if the regular listener has that opportunity and they miss out on a lot of new music they’d really enjoy.

That said though, I did try this album, and while I like the intention, and applaud Hazelwood for stepping outside of his self to explore another person’s perspective, the results just aren’t my style.

See, the lyrics of the track Success, now they’re relatable. The little tempo drops are fun. But I can feel the generation gap between our styles of music gaping.

There is alternate, slower version further down the track list. That’s a step closer, but doesn’t have the same pop sensibilities that make the track bounce. It’s more for the retiring to a bedroom stage of a party, where the first take would play when the party was still raging. I just don’t go to parties.

Don’t take this as a bad review, not that you need me to tell you what’s good. Lincoln Greene is easy enough to listen to, especially in this summer heat. But in headphones for me, while walking. Not on a stereo. I’ve seen the type that would love it go past while walking. Riding air with their hands out the windows of their friend’s car as they head to the beach. Holding onto the back of the driver’s seat, leaning forward to turn the radio up. Those still young enough to shrug off the pains of life for an afternoon. They’d love this.

My partner probably wouldn’t mind this on a stereo either, compared to some of the other music I listen to a bit too loud. She’s into Adele, or Lana del Ray, or Florence and the Machine, or Lorde. One of them...

That’s kind of what Lincoln Greene is selling. Influential, heady, big ticket, Radio Pop, with hooking earworm refrains. It could play on the same station. Rank on the same charts. There’s that  underlying melancholy, but always with overarching optimism. You know, like those skateboarding types on the street. The “Damn. I’m poor, and unemployed, but I love skating, man” guys. At least those guys are out enjoying the sun. I’m stuck in this office.

You can find the Lincoln Greene Project everywhere; iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud. If modern pop is your heartbeat, then this will surely fit on your playlist.


Review written by Peter-James Dries

 

About Lincoln Greene

Lincoln Greene is a Pseudo music project created by Jimmy Hazelwood.

Up until 2015, Hazelwood was a folk artist creating and releasing mainly acoustic music.

In late 2015, working with Producer/Audio Engineer- Morgan Allen at the Depot Recording Studio, Hazelwood developed Lincoln Greene with the intention and license to create explore a new style and sound.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Lincoln Greene

Releases

The Lincoln Greene Project
Year: 2017
Type: Album

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