Lael, or Jeff Schneeweis, or “that dude from Number One Gun“. Jeff is a seriously talented guy, not just for his musicianship or writing abilities but as a producer too. Acts such as Anberlin, Hawthorne Heights and Brighten all owe it to him for creating such awesome sounds for their releases and he is a massive influence on myself. Lael is his solo project which is a step away from the alternative pop rock sounds of his past and focus on a more electronic pop vibe.
I was really looking forward to his new release Pheonix as his debut album Clarity was a great representation of his abilities at writing songs and producing them on his own. Unfortunately I was pretty disappointed with Pheonix as I felt it was a pretty underwhelming release. These songs feel lazy, almost like it was a massive rush to write and record them. There’s no substance, no soul, their just bland.
It hurts to write badly about a guy I truly respect, but I have to be brutally honest, the writing takes a massive step back and the production sounds cheap, while he’s reused sounds from his previous album too. There also seems to be an Vocoder obsession, with nearly every song featuring the effect. Once or twice maybe but seriously there is way to much of it in these songs!
There were only two songs that I thought were worth mentioning and they were What’s In Front Of Me and Coming For You. These are the only ones I felt that displayed growth in his sound and utilised the studio to it’s full potential. If I had to make a suggestion, it’s to check out his previous album Clarity or better yet check out his stuff with Number One Gun.