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Person L - The Positives Album Cover

Person L - The Positives

Reviewed by
8.5
Person LThe Positives
Record Label: Human Interest Records
Release Date: November 17, 2009
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
It’s still weird when a formerly bad band does something unequivocally great. Kenny Vasoli’s Person L has managed it, and I’m literally flabbergasted. The Starting Line made magic here and there (that one song on Direction, the one where he missed a girl, etc.), but they were never really anything other than what they appeared. From the first complex moments of mostly instrumental opener “Hole In The Fence,” it becomes obvious that Person L’s previous problems, namely the frustrating inclination to sit stagnant instead of explode, are long gone. With Person L, he has truly unchained himself from every shackle being a pop-punk icon brings with it. And he didn’t have to go metal like the ugliest guy from Fall Out Boy or go stupid like Gabe Saporta. He just went creative, and sure, maybe he listened to too many Radiohead albums, but most people would tell you that’s a good thing. But even more importantly than The Positves’ successes is the fact that Vasoli has reached his full potential. Somewhere, he’s smiling.

My initial hang-up with Person L was always Kenny’s voice. After belting out broken heart mantras throughout my (continuing) youth, how would he handle more serious, ethereal fare? I finally stopped wondering during “Good Days.” Treated with slight echoed effects, Vasoli’s voice lends an emotional edge to the song’s simple construction before a snare-heavy drum section and guitar solo layered in gloop close the song in truly triumphant fashion. One can almost hear the years of pop-punk rigidity fall away.

Someone described The Positives to me as, “Explosions in the Sky meets Radiohead meets something idiots can like,” and although I assume they were talking down to me, I still agree. It’s all at once hard to take in and easy to swallow. The instrumental sections tend to find a riff or fill they like and repeat them to death, but the parts are so intriguing that you don’t mind. Plus, Kenny is dropping lines that he never would have before: “And you changed so much / So you might want to be someone else / Run the risk of being an impressionist / Cause we should all become ourselves.” On most tracks, he sees fit to let his voice float above rather than drive through the music. Even on the blues-rock interpretation “Sit Tight”, Vasoli works with the heavy bass line instead of trumping it. If Person L do one thing right, it’s share. Nobody fights for dominance, which allows the listener to sit back while the band highlights the strongest moments. I wonder if this is producer Aaron Marsh’s genius at work. On second thought, I know this is Aaron Marsh’s genius at work.

I hate and like “Changed Man.” A weak Raconteurs-on-David Bowie rip-off, it’s still pretty amazing to hear this coming from Vasoli. Yes, fine, that’s a backhanded insult, but can you blame me? He succeeds much more readily on slightly speedier fare, like the retrofied rock of “Pleasure Is All Mine” and the dark pop of “Untitled.” The latter track is closest to his earlier work, but it works much harder than any Starting Line song. At 5+ minutes, he can’t simply find a hook that works and slap a riff around it. Now each member must contribute thoroughly, because it’s simply not loud enough to pull the wool over our eyes. And then there’s “I Sing The Body Electric.” It’s unabashedly blissed out and clearly influenced by Minus The Bear, a strategic move that uses Vasoli’s scratchy voice to add a new depth to MTB’s typically silky smooth formula. The song’s 7-minute skeleton allows for tonal and even genre changes, yet it’s clearly one concept worked to its most satisfying conclusions. Surprises lurk everywhere, and for Vasoli, that in and of itself is a surprise.


Recommended If You Like: Radiohead, instrumental jams, Radiohead listening to instrumental jams, not Radiohead, not instrumental jams, something idiots can like


scarecrowwww.myspace.com/personl
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 124
02:15 PM on 11/25/09
#2
therookielot
the shape of punk just came
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awesome review, LOL @ the RIYL
02:18 PM on 11/25/09
#3
saysmydoctor
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Glad someone else agrees with me over how boring The Starting Line is.
02:22 PM on 11/25/09
#4
shwaz499
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i hate this review. i can't really explain why. its just very indecisive and naive. im kind of indifferent about the album. i enjoy it but as a die hard tsl fan i can't help but wish person l didnt exist. blake, you write tsl off in this review as a typical pop-punk band that "belt out broken heart mantras." I'm offended by this and I believe a lot of other ap users would be too. Maybe say it like you mean it is "typical" pop-punk, but it was extremely original when it came out and was a huge influence to many current bands. As for their following 2 albums I would hardly consider them pop-punk. Just because this release sounds more indie and out there, does not mean that it is any sort of a maturation. I thing BOATS is the most mature thing Kenny has every done.
02:23 PM on 11/25/09
#5
InBetweenAisles
WeReadTheSignsCompletelyB ackwards
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Really enjoyed this CD.
02:25 PM on 11/25/09
#6
njsuccessstory
The '59 Sound
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i hate this review. i can't really explain why. its just very indecisive and naive. im kind of indifferent about the album. i enjoy it but as a die hard tsl fan i can't help but wish person l didnt exist. blake, you write tsl off in this review as a typical pop-punk band that "belt out broken heart mantras." I'm offended by this and I believe a lot of other ap users would be too. Maybe say it like you mean it is "typical" pop-punk, but it was extremely original when it came out and was a huge influence to many current bands. As for their following 2 albums I would hardly consider them pop-punk. Just because this release sounds more indie and out there, does not mean that it is any sort of a maturation. I thing BOATS is the most mature thing Kenny has every done.
To be fair, all music is subjective. If he doesn't like it, accept it and move on. All music has it's cliches and for pop-punk talking about broken hearts is one of those things. This is coming from a huge pop-punk/TSL fan. There will always be someone that doesn't like something.
02:26 PM on 11/25/09
#7
shwaz499
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To be fair, all music is subjective. If he doesn't like it, accept it and move on. All music has it's cliches and for pop-punk talking about broken hearts is one of those things. This is coming from a huge pop-punk/TSL fan. There will always be someone that doesn't like something.
Obviously he has a right to his opinion. I'm merely defending a band that is extremely important to me and a lot of ap users.
02:27 PM on 11/25/09
#8
chrismorewood
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i guess its just person l taste (haha get it).... i love most of what is on this album and i love person l live, they really put on a good show.

while i am a huge fan of the starting line, its nice to see ken take on something new and see it progress into some great music.
02:28 PM on 11/25/09
#9
Empire22
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It does a disservice to the starting line to say they were no better then their super-popped out, hooky singles. I've got every album and there is growth, development. It's like you're assuming that just because a band doesn't sounds like radio-head they can't be deemed creative. There is good and bad pop-punk just like there is good and bad music. Starting line IS some great pop-punk, but just because they were great at pop-punk doesn't make them less of a band.
02:31 PM on 11/25/09
SmallFrailBoy
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Solid review. The vocals surprised me the most on this album. It's amazing how much Kenny has grown.
02:34 PM on 11/25/09
AmIWrong
Mickey is Sexy
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I don't get why Kenny wouldn't have dropped these lines before?


" Plus, Kenny is dropping lines that he never would have before: “Yeah, I still got this smile on / I wear it across my face / And if you can still not see the positives / Then you’re just not looking my way.” "
02:34 PM on 11/25/09
IceAge/HeatWave
hello earth
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i hated TSL. that said, i am really enjoying this album the first few listens in.
02:35 PM on 11/25/09
AmIWrong
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i hate this review. i can't really explain why. its just very indecisive and naive. im kind of indifferent about the album. i enjoy it but as a die hard tsl fan i can't help but wish person l didnt exist. blake, you write tsl off in this review as a typical pop-punk band that "belt out broken heart mantras." I'm offended by this and I believe a lot of other ap users would be too. Maybe say it like you mean it is "typical" pop-punk, but it was extremely original when it came out and was a huge influence to many current bands. As for their following 2 albums I would hardly consider them pop-punk. Just because this release sounds more indie and out there, does not mean that it is any sort of a maturation. I thing BOATS is the most mature thing Kenny has every done.
I agree. I didn't like this review either.
02:37 PM on 11/25/09
xapplexpiex
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The only album I could get into by TSL was Direction. I might give this a listen though.
02:38 PM on 11/25/09
Blake Solomon
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I don't get why Kenny wouldn't have dropped these lines before?


" Plus, Kenny is dropping lines that he never would have before: “Yeah, I still got this smile on / I wear it across my face / And if you can still not see the positives / Then you’re just not looking my way.” "
you're right, that's a bad passage. i've changed it.

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