Friday, May 31, 2013
Review: Greater Alexander - Positive Love
If experience is any indication, Greater Alexander, better know to his mother and father as Alexander Vlachos, has it in spades. Drawing inspiration from his hometown of Southfield, Michigan, “by way of New York and Athens, Greece,” Vlachos is an artist who, even at a relatively young age, has been around the block a few times, holding over thirty different jobs. That journey has seen the budding artist juggle everything from being a barista to a healthcare provider, and several in between. And through it all, Alexander has emerged knowing that love is the one power capable of making a difference.
Alexander channels that knowledge and power into his debut release, aptly titled Positive Love, to great effect. Offering up accessible and intelligent lyrics that harness the celestial seesaw of life, as we ebb and flow through our experiences, enjoying great peace as well as struggling through great hardships, Alexander weaves a tapestry of indie folk that meshes with subtle pop influences, resulting in a warm, soulful, and encouraging journey of sound.
The Wayne State grad opens up his opus on love and life with “Any Way Out of It,” and from the get-go, his artistry is evident. Stunning finger-picked guitar is accented by layered harmony vocals from Alexander, presenting a full, yet subdued, vocal sound that flows throughout the majority of the album. The sound is reminiscent of artists like Joshua Radin and, to a lesser extent, Sam Beam of Iron and Wine fame.
The title track showcases more solid guitar alongside some falsetto tones from Alexander and a few extra bells and whistles, keeping the mood warm and cozy before giving way to the slightly moody and pop-friendly “Baby Steps.” More layered vocals color the laidback canvas of “Spinning” while “Better Days” hints at the warmth of memories as we reflect back. “Feel of Summer” is a just that, a fresh sonic breath of summery sunshine, given a light and fresh feel with some playful whistling throughout before the short but sweet “Chances,” with an almost choral feel to the vocals and some real instrumental intricacy taking place.
“Everlasting” is a slow-builder that utilizes some piano tones to build an additional emotive depth and “Let It Be Me” hints at some Latin influences before segueing into one of the album’s biggest highlights in “Oh, You.” Starting with a light, airy feel, gentle guitar and crooned vocals, Alexander utilizes finger snaps and subtle piano to layer textures later on that simply result in a great sound. The artist closes up shop with the slightly sad-tinged “Negative Fears” and “In The Stillness of Water,” which starts with a stark intro and then flows into a full and passionate ending that closes out this record in solid fashion.
Greater Alexander may be an artist that is new to the scene but, with talent like this, he should be received with open arms and welcomed in without qualms. Managing to conjure up everything from stellar guitar work to lush vocals, with cunning and inventive percussion in between, Alexander shows himself to be a real artist. Add to that the ability to write honest and insightful lyrics and you’re faced with the whole package. Fans of artists like Simon and Garfunkel to Bon Iver will find plenty and more to enjoy here on Positive Love.