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Tiny mind, MASSIVE soul

Dana Telsrow’s first full-length album, "tiny mind MASSIVE soul," is a massive undertaking. It features contributions from the approximately 20 additional talented regional artists. The songs have complex arrangements and often feature shifts in tone and style with an array of instrumentations. However, in addition to the size of the production itself, Telsrow’s themes and lyrics get grandiose, too.

Most of the lyrics are like Telsrow’s musical arrangements, free flowing with shifting timbre and pace. Musically, the album has heavy jazz influences along with some funky bass, bold brass and several instrumentations not normally found on a rock album. It’s easy to imagine parts of the instrumentation in "Applecore" being part of a children’s movie soundtrack. Most songs have moments of blaring sax or horns, often with slightly discordant tones.

Other songs have moments of familiar rock arrangements such as "Who You," which features a screaming guitar solo. "Neon Blood" and "Equality" have flashes of pop-sounding acoustic guitar and “oh, oh oh” vocalizations, while "tiny mind MASSIVE soul" has a layered guitar lead-in. A bit of punk sounds surface in "Lation."

The fun, complex compositions along with free-style sounding lyrics can mask some deeper themes that occasionally surface in much of the album. In the first single off the project, "Erase Myself," Telsrow sings about losing his ego to learn about himself. “I can’t believe it took so long to figure it out,” he sings of his creative and spiritual revelation. It seems to echo a theme of the album, established in the opening song "Crosswalk," about birth -- creative, spiritual or otherwise -- where he sings “One day, I was born; I felt it ever since.”

Like the songs’ musical arrangements, which have instruments shift, change and sometimes stop entirely, the clear meaningful passages among stream-of-consciousness lyrics grab listeners’ attention. Or maybe the lyrics all have equally deep meaning that escapes me now. Either way, the result is a fun, versatile listen that features sounds and words so richly layered that its novelty and allure doesn’t fade after repeated plays.

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