steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Brian Michael Roff & the Deer

"Inventory" CD

KEEP Recordings

Genre: folk-rock, Americana

KEEP Recordings
PO Box 18972


April 2006

These days we have seen a large scale attention shift towards folk and Americana music, pioneered by the success of bands like Okkervil River, Beth Orton, and Death Vessel. But behind the major names lies a vast and varied scene filled with countless strummers and storytellers. One such artist is Brian Michael Roff, who has put out a number of strong records both on his own and with his Deer. Inventory is his much anticipated second album for KEEP Recordings, an absolutely incredible DIY label from Tucson, Arizona.

Roff makes Inventory's tone clear right from the start with "I Would Work If I Could," an infectious little bumper detailing the frustration of the working man. This is folky Americana, composed of friendly narratives and warm melodies. It can become a little bland at times - such as on "For Pledges" - but the glut of strong songs makes up for any discrepancy. "Winter Will" is a bittersweet, longing piece of nostalgia designed to bring out your emotional side. "Unfantastic Few," meanwhile, is a heartfelt beauty with the serious viola lending it a sense of urgency. The nearly seven minute "I Fell At The Opera" could be considered the album's centrepiece, and rightfully so. There is very little to complain about on this strong set of songs, which marks another step towards glory for Brian Michael Roff. We can only hope he continues to put out albums like this for years to come - and gets the recognition he deserves.

MP3 (from I Fell at the Opera


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 9 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2005]