[Album Review] Dean Drouillard- UFO Houses
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by Mark Anthony Brennan
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Release Date: October 28th, 2014
Label: Backward Music

‘UFO Houses’ is an instrumental guitar album by Toronto producer and musician Dean Drouillard. This project has apparently been in the works for a couple of years and finally came to fruition recently with the help of friend and fellow producer Joshua Van Tassel. Van Tassel just released an album himself — the ambient instrumental “Dance Music: Songs for Slow Motion” — and his influence can clearly be heard on some of the atmospherics here. However, Drouillard’s approach is somewhat different — he uses his guitar to express concepts and emotions rather than evoke them.

Drouillard uses a wide variety of guitars and a wide variety of guitar effects on the album, lending it a richness of sound. However, his basic approach is essentially the same throughout — establish a riff on one guitar, repeat the riff and then add layers of other instruments to build on that riff. Simple, but highly effective. And it doesn’t mean there is a ‘sameness’ to the sound as the styles vary from the soft rock rhythm of “Mid Air” to the swirling corporate rock guitar battle on “Return To The Start” , and from an indie folk vibe on “UFO Houses” to the funky dance beat of “Monster Walk”. The emotional tone varies also — “Return To The Start” is playful whereas “Shovelling An Abundance of Light” is mournful, and there is a yearning expressed in “Lost City” whereas with “Monster Walk” all you want to do is boogie.

The record suffers a little from the fact that it falls somewhere between two camps. Being less evocative than other instrumentals it tends to lack emotional depth, and on the other hand it is not able to be completely expressive as it has no lyrics. Nevertheless, the pure craftsmanship here is of such a high caliber that the album will no doubt satisfy the art rock guitar aficionados out there.