Shawn Mrazek Lives!: Thought He Was Dead

shawn mrazek, thought he was dead, shawn mrazek livesShawn Mrazek Lives! “Well who’s that?” Shawn Mrazek is the drummer for The Evaporators and a former member of The Doers; and no, that isn’t some crazy statement letting you know he’s alive and well but rather the name of his solo-project. The name of his big album? Thought He Was Dead. On the other hand, Mrazek isn’t alone going into this. Instead he’s brought in an all-star team of musicians to help him out. Rose Melberg (Go Sailor, Tiger Trap), Adrian Teacher (Apollo Ghosts), and Hayz Fisher all join in on the fun for this one. Together the four of them kind of form a Justice League of indie music. The end result is pretty great.

Admittedly, Thought He Was Dead starts kind of slow. The band doesn’t waste any time to jump right into things, the first track, “Man In The Glass,” comes at you with full force, but other than that, the song comes off as a bit uninspired. Garage rock meets indie, but it’s nothing special. On the other hand, as the album progresses things pick up.

The garage-rock/indie vibe doesn’t disappear, but becomes more mature and cultivated throughout the album. For instance, the third song, “Can’t See Me,” doesn’t jump out immediately. The song slowly and gently builds up. An instrumental crescendo accompanied by sing-speak lyrics push things along into a slightly more ominous tone than usual. But then the momentum builds, and the band breaks out with their cheerful nature once again. The next track, “Another World,” really sells itself, and begins to show how unique Shawn Mrazek can be.

Lyrics matter a lot. For a drummer, Shawn Mrazek sure does know what he’s doing. Thought He Was Dead is a collection of heavy beats, easy-going melodies, and most importantly, well written, stay-with-you kind of lyrics. It’s remarkable. “Another World,” stood out most of all for some very interesting choice of words: “There is another world…Inside of this one” serves as a chorus, and it’s hard to explain why, but it grabs you, and doesn’t let go. The same happens constantly throughout the album, and the sixth track, “My Funny Valentine,” pulls the same trick. It would take a transcription just to explain, but Thought He Was Dead has one of the greatest, most genuine love songs written.

Solo-projects aren’t easy, but Shawn Mrazek Lives! is pretty well done. Poppy indie rock songs and hard hitting lyrics ahoy! Thought He Was Dead isn’t a blockbuster, but it’s mighty fine. It’s pretty unexpected coming from a drummer, but it turns out he can pack quite a punch. And enough about Mrazek; kudos to the band too.

Rating: 7.0/10
MP3: Shawn Mrazek Lives! “My Funny Valentine”