Jon Creeden - Beards! (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Jon Creeden

Beards! (2013)

My Fingers! My Brain! Records

Who is Jon Creeden, you might ask? Initial information was sparse beyond the fact that Beards! was an acoustic album, but that Creedon was accompanied in places on the record by Patrick Neary and Kaitlyn Victoria Bean of Brutal Youth, a band I quite like, piqued my interest. The quickest of Google searches left me bereft of any major information but what the hell, I'm not scared of heading into the unknown!

Beards! is generally one man and a guitar, a fairly commonplace setup these days and it's certainly the thing to do if you can strum and sing at the same time. Fortunately, the mysterious Jon Creeden is quite adept at doing these two things and is extremely effective in doing so. In some ways, a limited arsenal at one's disposal means the quality and delivery of the songs has to be higher than those from a full band, as there is less ability for one element to cover up an inadequacy elsewhere within the band.

On Beards!, Creeden's clean guitar sound and slightly gritty voice create a winning combination. On top of that, the songs are well written and the lyrical content doesn't come across as being hammered into place to fit the design of the songs and the chosen vehicle by which they are delivered.

"Something Stable" is a standout, and one on which Neary provides some great additional vocals alongside those of Creeden. Another prime example of harmonies enhancing the quality of a song is "Everything That You Do," which features Bean providing a different dimension and feel. It's not that Creedon's own voice doesn't hold power, as it clearly does on tracks like "Miles Apart" and "Tired," but the variety provided by a second voice just augments the listenability of this type of music. These harmonies are liberally peppered across the record, enhancing the songs rather than cluttering them up.

Coming from nowhere, as this artist / release has to me, probably goes some way to explaining one of the many reasons I like Beards!; it's good to be blindsided by an unknown artist of quality. It's a winning blend that makes this one of the best acoustic releases of the year. In addition to previous reasons, this record is simple yet effective, allowing the songs to be taken on board and enjoyed with relative ease.

Okay, I now know that Jon Creeden is Canadian and has been doing this solo project for about six years. I also know he's pretty damn good at what he does.