Last Year’s Boy

by Simple Thing

Track listing: Alcohol and Nicotine, Growl, By My Name, Forgotten Days, She Waits By the Sea, It Turns Me On, Faith, Hope and Love, Beautiful, Butterflies in Glass, The Last Romantic, Ebony, Resurrection Street, Diamonds

Released: 2002
Best tracks: "She Waits By the Sea," "It Turns Me On" & "Last Romantic" are all incredible things…too hard to choose
Track to skip: Resurrection Street is too cheesy for me
Rating: 93 out of 100

The new chapter of Bryan Dunn-guitarist, singer, songwriter. For reviews on previous chapters in the Life of Bryan check out the reviews for Miniver Cheevy, Echo Juliet & 3 Penny Opera. This is the first band that Bryan’s really been the full leader of. He was relegated to a sideman for EJ, and a sort-of ‘co-leader’ (kinda behind the scenes) of 3PO, so to hear him finally out in front is very refreshing. The last time Bryan actively sang lead was back in Cheevy, 7 years ago.

I saw Simple Thing’s first gig and had a great time and I had also heard a number of these songs on the website, but it was almost like hearing them all for the first time when I got this. There are some really, really great songs on here. For the most part, all the songs are dead on. A couple of slight question marks, but otherwise it’s just damn good. Better than that since it’s the debut.

It’s really too hard to pick a favorite track on here. Both "She Waits By the Sea" and "Last Romantic" are beautiful songs. "Last Romantic" almost brings me to tears; it’s excellent. For the upbeat songs, "It Turns Me On" has such an amazing chorus… I wish I’d written it. The music is still pretty eclectic on here, even though it’s not as jarring as Miniver Cheevy was or as groovy-eclectic like 3PO. I really like how comfortable Bryan is in all the different kinds of songs on here: the contemplative ballads, the groove-rock numbers, the all-out pop ones, the slinky and mysterious ones…he fills them all out with ease.

Simple Thing is a band, but in all honesty it’s really Bryan Dunn’s project. That’s not slighting the other guys (Wiley ‘The Monster’ Koepp on drums, David C. on bass and Jonny Hi-fi on rhythm guitar), as they’re all really good players, but they are acting as support for Bryan on this one. Maybe future releases will have more of a band feel to them. All that is really irrelevant though. This CD rocks, and even after typing a bunch of other stuff I still have "Growl" stuck in my head. Great stuff. I highly recommend picking this up at a Simple Thing live show. Totally worth it. (And in case you doubt my honesty in this, as Bryan is a good friend of mine and a former bandmate, I have no problems AT ALL pointing out when he makes a mistake or just does something that’s awful. Ask him, I’m probably *too* honest for him sometimes. But I really do like this CD; it’s the best one he’s done so far.)

Posted on 4/15/02