Local Wire

Brendan James @ The Rhythm Room

Brendan James seems like an awfully pleasant guy with a nice voice, but how did the super-softest of soft rock become acceptable to listen to without scorn from friends and family? Reviews of Brendan James make comparisons to David Gray and Elton John. I don't think critics are connecting James to Elton's Cameron Crowe-lionized early years as much as they are to his "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" era. James manages to make other piano-pop softies like Augustana, The Fray, and OneRepublic seem edgy, which might be the most punk rock move for a musician at this point. Go as soft as possible. Make Peter Cetera fall asleep while listening to your album. Where Robert Plant had a visible bulge in his pants constantly reminding you of his sexuality, Brendan James isn't going to show off his masculinity with an erection in plain view. He's ready to really listen. He's not trying to ruin it by trying to get you into bed, ladies. Maybe Brendan James was built in a lab by Mattel — Adult Contemporary Ken, sitting at the piano waiting for Barbie with a cup of tea and the musical equivalent of a comfy sweater.