Brian Lopez: Ultra

Brian Lopez, Ultra Brian Lopez: Ultra
Brian Lopez’s Ultra is an ambitious project, one that attempts to cross both culture and genre. Lopez has been known in the Tucson area as the frontman for Mostly Bears, but with his first solo album, Lopez looks to combine his classical and jazz training with the rock and roll that is his passion. Lopez cites Thom York of Radiohead as one of his influences, and you can tell that he paid close attention to the sonic ambiance of the album. Whether your listening to the crispness of the percussion or the echo of a distorted guitar, Ultra has a sound which you can simply close your eyes and slip into like a dream.
Lopez sings in a country crooner style, and while there is nothing technically wrong with his voice, his delivery lacks emotional variety. Ultra has songs written in both English and Spanish, but transitions between languages are not jarring, and even English only listeners can appreciate the more traditional vocal phrasing and classical guitar work of the Spanish language songs.
It may be an old cliche to say that while an album is technically proficient, it lacks that certain something to make it a masterpiece, but Lopez’s attempt to fuse rock and roll with latin folk and jazz is missing that emotional rawness that has defined rock music since its inception. Ultra’s orchestration is spot on, there always seems to be just the right amount of pedal steel guitar or slight distortion, and Lopez is a skillful singer, but after opening tracks Ultra becomes very programatic, which leaves me wishing this album had a little more rock and roll soul.
Rating: 7.0/10
MP3: Brian Lopez “Molly”
Buy: iTunes