January 20th 2009
It is strange what a mass gathering of hallucinogen consuming, dust bathing, barter-system campers can convince you to do. Conceived while wondering around the Burning Man Festival singing songs for the evanescent joy of gratitude, Breakaway Republic was born of legend and wild spirit. But to be honest I don’t have the stomach for another “record birthed from unusual circumstances” pitch. What is the record about, who made it, and is it any good? These are the questions that I want the answers to. A caveat, I hope those who fall in love with this record take my comments cum grano salis (from one Latin lover to another). For all others, you have been warned.
Breakaway Republic, named for the particular camp that Dylan Connor resided at for the duration of his Burning Man experiment, is a saccharine pop album with shoddy lyrics and easy melodies reminiscent of lesser loved Gin Blossoms records. For all intents and purposes this is Mr. Dylan’s therapy—his catharsis—and that’s cool, but it is no excuse to expect an uncritical response to obvious Elvis Costello impressions. Breakaway Republic is pop—plain, non-nuanced, unchallenging, contrived pop. The music is well performed, and well recorded. The record has what could be called high points; Blood Like Fire is some pretty damn good Americana, and Have a Little Dream is an excellent melody over and simply strummed guitar. It has the beauty of a signature Marc Cohn tune and the soft sound of James Taylor. That having been said, Breakaway Republic lacks gravity. It is simply too deficient to qualify as even approaching relevant.
January 16th – Bridgeport, CT – The Field
January 17th – Philadelphia, PA Secret – House Party
January 30th – Brooklyn – NY Bar 4
February 18th – Philadelphia – PA O.N.E.