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Angel Put Your Face On
Brian VanderArk
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Reviewed: 6/19/2006 by Chad

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“Angel” marks Vander Ark’s second album since parting ways with The Verve Pipe. While his 2004 release Resurrection showed a slight departure from his former band’s core sound, “Angel” is a clear departure from his East Lansing roots. While it would be a far stretch to call this a country record, Vander Ark says this record was inspired by two of his favorite albums, 'Madman Across The Water', by Elton John, and ‘Bridge Over Trouble Water', by Simon and Garfunkle. Needless to say, this album does not resemble the post-grunge sound that the Verve Pipe helped usher in during the late 90’s. The opening track, “Don’t Want to be a Bother” is an interesting retrospective song, about growing up amongst the confusion of politics and morals in this world. Next up is “Too Good For this World”, perhaps the most mainstream track on the disc. The driving melody and familiar soaring vocals find Vander Ark at his best. The album begins to show its true core on tracks like “Nothing But Time” or “Another Good Man,” showcasing a sound that is reminiscent of artists like Damien Rice or Ryan Adams. Beautiful arrangements and unique melodies round out this album on the track “Based Upon the Way,” and the piano ballad “The Heart that Keeps You” clearly shows the Simon and Garfunkle influence. While an album like this would probably never find its place on radio or even into the mainstream, it captures a whole new side of Vander Ark, one that just further proves why he’s still one of the most talented songwriters in the industry today.

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