On Granite, 14er haven’t quite figured things out yet. They sound too much like Hum, and their songs have that quality of formlessness, complication without complexity, that characterizes talented musicians who have little experience with songwriting. It’s in the style of one’s writing, not just one’s playing, that one develops an identity, and until that identity develops, until a musician has enough confidence to look upon his own work with an honest eye and glean from that looking an idea of the person who wrote it, he won’t know how to present himself, nor will the music reveal him to the listener except as the sum of his influences. Granite‘s press materials reflect this lack of identity, describing them in adjectives that have little or no descriptive value: “dynamic”; “melodic”; “original”; “passionate”; “shattering”; “catchy”; and most damningly, “not easily forgotten.” It sounds to me like the band’s admirers don’t have a clear idea of how to describe them, let alone praise them.
And yet, though 14er may not yet know how to use their music to express themselves effectively, they do know how to present their music itself. Granite has a clear, unambiguous sound that showcases the band’s obvious talent, particularly drummer Andy Beaudoin, who seems to be able to rip quite the fill when it’s called for. And though the band’s influences are perhaps too apparent, the music that they are mining for inspiration is rich and sweet. The ability to write well is acquired, and the learning curve is different for everyone, taking years and years in most cases. I have every confidence that 14er can develop the assurance and perspective necessary for creative success.