Record Review: Mark Bethune

Mark Bethune
Rattlebox Sessions 1 & 2
San Francisco, CA

“Rattlebox and Hum”
With a total of 20 minutes between them, you wouldn’t expect Mark Bethune’s Rattlebox Sessions 1 to be markedly different from Mark Bethune’s Rattlebox Sessions 2.

Now, if you only heard Rattlebox 1, you’d likely be giving enthusiastic thumbs up for exciting hard driving rock-folk.  And had you only heard Rattlebox 2, you’d be giving an enthusiastic “meh” for decent, if undistinguished indie acoustic rock.  So the listener may ultimately find themselves somewhere in the middle.

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Box 1 is a pleasure, but be cautious in calling it folk.  It is folk only in the way Rod Stewart’s Every Picture Tells a Story is folk.  On the lead off “London,” a driving “pay-attention-to-me” backbeat fuels rollicking acoustic strumming and an immediately catchy melody.  “Woman Unknown” follows (and concludes) with a more mellow tempo, but with as much confidence as the opener.  And though Bethune sings more like an enthused Iron & Wine than a pre-sell-out Rod Stewart, he brings just as much rock to the folk-rock.

Box 2 doesn’t quite carry its weight as well.  Gone is the clarity and much of the hooks from Box 1.  It’s certainly not bad, just rather indistinct, and when all is said and done – just makes you long for those 7 glorious minutes that were Box 1. (Self-released)

Produced by Schuyler Wilson // Recorded at Rattlebox Studios in Toronto // Engineered and mixed by Brian Moncarz and TK Dallman

-Ari Goldberg


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