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Pity In a Heartbeat

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Album Review

With a band name like this — not to mention the bleak cover art — the expectation is that some sort of darkwave/new age drones might be on offer on Pity in a Heartbeat. But while the Dreamscapes Project are into some major dramatics, they are a rock band straight up, with a prominent role for full-time cellist Ben Guy in their roughly passionate (and emotional but not emo per se) music. Which, in equal measure, is both the band's strong point and their stumbling block. On the one hand bandleader Keith Center sounds like a guy on a mission and his infection is enthusiastic up to a point, but on the other hand, he can be the weakest element in his band's performances. A good example is "Food for Thought," where Guy's deft cello work adds much more to the structured dramatics of the arrangement than Center's bawling growl on the chorus and, near comically, towards the end. As for his attempt to be Soul Coughing or G. Love on "Seldom a Sword," the (much) less said the better. It's certainly nice to hear a voice tackle this kind of music that isn't out to be mall punk in 2008, say, and sometimes he nails it perfectly, as with the graceful falsetto on evidence throughout "Try Cycle." But somehow it always comes back to everyone else in the band — the combination of bassist Jeremy Rodgers and the two drummers Gordon Shankman and Eric Sanford makes for a good blast, and, once again, Ben Guy seems to know just what to play where.


Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s

Folk-rock ensemble the Dreamscapes Project were formed in Reston, VA, after Keith Center and Jeremy Rodgers met at George Mason University in 1997. The duo was inspired by groups such as Dave Matthews Band, Days of the New, and Soul Coughing, and after Ed Bizzell (drums) and Donna Griffith (violin) joined up with Center and Rodgers, the band released its debut album, Focusing the Madness, in 1999. Following the departure of Bizzell and Griffith, the band recruited Dave Clark and experienced a slight...
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Pity In a Heartbeat, The Dreamscapes Project
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