Mike Grubbs got his start as a character on One Tree Hill who also happened to be a musician. Two of his former songs from an EP were featured.
Here, Grubbs (piano/vocals) joins bassist Anne Lieberwirth, violinist Patrick Doane and backing vocalist Tanya Buziak for his first full-length studio LP.
Almost Everything… is an album chock-full of infectious, piano-laden melodies, with a dash of violin mixed in. Upon first listen, the band reminded me very much of Train, Vampire Weekend and Spoon; perhaps mixed together.
The title track optimistically opens the album, while “The Oh Song” is addictive and probably the best track overall.
“Dance so Good” is a song you expect to pick up speed, but it refreshingly stays put, offering a romantically catchy sing-a-along, reminiscent of The Beatles.
“Car Crash” is probably the most intense song melodically and lyrically, using a car wreck as a metaphor for lost love, while “Take it Like a Man” is an opera-like ballad which combines frenzied violin with calm piano. The latter track seems to be about two lovers; one fed up and wanting to leave and the other convincing them to stay. If looked at from this perspective, the rhythm of the song fits perfectly with the lyrics.
Overall, I can see why this album will attract many, and rightfully so. Grubbs’ vocals never falter in their resonance, and there are a few strong tracks here. However, what remains missing is the spark of originality that can make this band stand apart from others of the piano-pop genre, leaving this album with “almost everything.”