Paul Bibbins – Disenchantment At A Distance

 Paul Bibbins – Disenchantment At A Distance

Paul Bibbins – Disenchantment At A Distance – EP Review

From the same man that brought you The Last Perfect Performance!

I guess he figured there was still something else he was able to offer your speakers or he wouldn’t be back with a brand-new EP, right?

Paul Bibbins also happens to be one of the ONLY artists out there in the scene today that is carrying on Jimi Hendrix’s sound in an original way.  Sure, there’s likely to be a whole bunch of cover artists out there – which is complimentary, and nice – but isn’t the real testament to an artist’s sound being timeless having it be carried on by someone else?  I’m honestly surprised that in the ten-plus years of doing what I do here at sleepingbagstudios that the influence of Jimi hasn’t shown up a whole lot more, yet here we are and that’s the case – it really hasn’t.  Paul’s the one proudly carrying the torch if you ask me.  He doesn’t try to hide the influence so much as embrace it right out in the open.  I listen to the way he lets his vocals ramble on through the opening track “Bold, Beautiful…And Long Gone!” and it’d be impossible to miss the way Hendrix has obviously played a giant role in shaping the way Bibbins makes music.  You hear it in his voice, you hear it in his guitar, you hear it in the songwriting…all the ingredients are there.  It’s to the point where the youngins out there that don’t have as much experience with Hendrix could easily assume that Bibbins IS the man himself.  Are YOU experienced?  Could you take the Pepsi challenge and know who was who?  Trust me when I tell ya, it’s probably not nearly as easy as you’d think!  You’ll listen to a track like “Bold, Beautiful…And Long Gone!” start up Paul’s Disenchantment At A Distance EP and hear the uncanny similarities.  From the organic nature of the timing, where you can hear things slightly speed up or slow down based on the groove and feel of the song, to the loose vibe of how Bibbins clearly loves to JAM for jammin’s sake – longtime fans of Jimi should be stoked to get more of the sound they dig most, and Paul should be through the roof happy about being mentioned in the same breath of one of Rock music’s most notable names.  It genuinely speaks volumes about his ability, skill, and oddly enough, his precision…to pin down the Jimi sound ain’t any kind of easy achievement y’all…you can’t be rigid about it, you’ve gotta go where the music takes you, and each performance could yield an entirely different result.  So again, for Paul to come out sounding as similar as he does, is exceptional work.  Obviously you can argue that there’s still a hell of a lot of room for Bibbins to make his own unique mark in music, but I don’t get the sense that’s what he’s really going for.  I feel like this man is all about paying homage to his hero of all heroes in the way that he sings & the way that he plays, and he should be proud of filling a space in music that truly needed it.  What Hendrix started should continue to live on long after any of us…and Bibbins is greatly helping that happen by keeping it fresh in our minds with a set of four stellar cuts on Disenchantment At A Distance.

What I think a lot of folks out there will appreciate about the way Paul does what he does, is that it’s not JUST the guitar, it’s not JUST the way he sings – it’s everything, all combined, at once.  You can hear the Jimi-esqueness pourin’ outta all that you hear, from the rhythm section in the drums and bass, to the treble-up production he’s got on his tunes.  One of the clearest examples you’ll find is in the second track called “Thrill Walk” – it’s an instrumental, and it’ll really show you how Bibbins’ music works as a total package altogether.  That being said…clearly, you wouldn’t go into making Hendrix-style tunes without having deep passionate love affair with the guitar first & foremost, which Paul clearly has.  It’s a genuine pleasure to listen to this dude play, and “Thrill Walk” simply has him rockin’ out from start to finish.  It’s not ridiculously complex, it’s not wildly overblown…it’s a solid example of having all the right pieces in place to broadcast the kind of sound you wanna put out there into the world.  If you find yourself longing for some new tunes with an older style of sound, look no further than Paul Bibbins.

As we “float on” into “Disenchantment At A Distance (In Need Of A Good Song),” I gotta say, this dude is just all kinds of fun to listen to.  Again, for such a decisively familiar sound, it’s practically insane how little of it most people probably get in a day compared to the rest of what’s out there.  Paul’s sense of performance is bang-on, and his personality really shines throughout this third cut.  He’s got that hippie vibe down to a science, which I’m lovin.’  You’ll also find the guy has a great range inside his lyricism & songwriting all around…you’ve got tangible hooks in “Disenchantment At A Distance (In Need Of A Good Song)” when he sings “just me, you, and us til the end,” and of course you’ve got his impressive musicianship flowin’ hot and heavy at all times.  Beyond that though, I think what a lot of listeners will dig in this track is that for as serious as you can tell Paul takes his time riffin’ on the ol’ guitar – he’s also put some humor into this track as well when he’s talking about how the world’s in need of a good song and that “maybe I’ll write one someday.”  You’ll also find that flower-child style poetry at the core of this cut too, in addition to vivid solos that’ll spring outta your speakers like neon colors in your mind as you listen.  You KNOW you want some of that!  Paul makes it pretty damn easy to get into what he’s doing, because you can HEAR how much he loves and appreciates the music he’s making, you dig?  He simply hasn’t overlooked anything…his material has everything it should have, right where you wanna find it.  The attention to detail is there, and as a result, the authenticity is actually quite astounding.  For a guy that’s latched onto someone else’s sound at the root of it all, you’ve gotta admire how well he’s pulled it all off.  “Disenchantment At A Distance (In Need Of A Good Song)” is a great example of the hybrid nature of the whole vibe at work though…you’ve got the Rock, you’ve got the Pop, you’ve got the 60s/70s sound in action…it’s pretty damn irresistible if you ask me, even if it’s arguably not that new in many ways.  The song is, the sound isn’t…I think we’d all recognize that to be true, including Paul of course – but when it comes to execution, you can tell Bibbins has nothing but respect for the magic of music.  Plus, that main hook of “it’s just me, you, and us til the end” is straight up solid gold to listen to.  That’s the most sincere moment of melody you’ll find too…the rest of the time, the dude just oozes cool.

“Vista Valley Drift” is gonna be the cut that separates the wheat from the chaff.  It’ll be the song that separates those out there that really appreciate the entire sound, from those out there diggin’ it part time.  It’ll be the track that challenges most average everyday listeners way more, and has the people out there that really love their wild instrumentation and ideas tuning right in.  A lot of “Vista Valley Drift” reveals the organic nature of Paul’s sound…and perhaps gives us some clues as to how he goes about doing what he does, but better yet, WHY.  If I was to judge by “Vista Valley Drift” and all the tiny imperfections you’ll hear along the way, I’d say you could only conclude that that’s the POINT – Paul’s not going for an ultra-polished sound here.  He’s working within the framework of an idea he’s no doubt jammed upon many, many times – but like I was tellin’ ya earlier, I’d be willing to bet he’s never really played the same song the same way twice, you know what I mean?  Sure he’s probably got his main rhythm and groove locked down and ready to roll, and I’m sure he’s likely even rehearsed his way through the ideas he has many times too – but he’s not going for a note-for-note performance, and when things bend a little outside of the ideal tone, you can bet your sweet ass that’s probably the spots he personally loves the most.  Because those are the points in a song you can hear are REAL, and to be completely honest with ya, they indicate a whole lot of passion at the same time.  There’s nothing horrifyingly out of place – we’re not talkin’ about anything remotely that extreme – just pieces of notes here and there as he’s bendin’ strings and bendin’ your mind that’ll color slightly outside of the lines.  The exact things that people who love seeing live music actually go to see, you feel me?  If you wanna hear perfection from the stage, please, stay home and spin the record y’all…performance-based music is much more about those moments where things go slightly awry, and how an artist is able to reel it all back in again seamlessly.  Paul’s got that gift for sure, and you can hear it on “Vista Valley Drift.”  I’m sure there’s probably a moment here & there throughout the rest of the record that the most dedicated musicians might feel has that same quality of performance to it as well, I’m just saying it’s the most noticeable and pronounced at the very end of Disenchantment At A Distance.  All-in-all, it’s another really strong effort for Paul Bibbins and his “radical rock’n roll soundzz” – dig right on into this cool cats.

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