THE DEAL: Harvard singer Jesse Clasen releases his debut, nine-song solo effort under the name The Bear Romantic.
THE GOOD: Local singer Clasen has a unique, nearly-falsetto vocal style that often reminds me of the late Blind Melon singer Shannon Hoon. His debut solo effort kicks off with "Stay Mine," a simple acoustic rhythm and echoed vocal howl leading up to a poetic style of slow singing. "Farmers" is more of a straightforward folk song with an indie quality thanks to reverb on the vocals. A few tracks have some drums which give the music a bit more depth and energy. Those only familiar with Harvard will also get to hear more of the musical instrumentation side of Clasen here. Might be best listened to by candlelight.
THE BAD: The last Harvard show I saw left me wanting more, so this almost seems like a distraction. But taken on its own merit, I'm interested to hear more from this side of Clasen, as well.
THE VERDICT: Often, a solo album closely resembles the efforts of a musician's primary outlet. For Clasen, his solo effort showcases a completely different side of the singer and his songwriting. Definitely worth checking out and keeping an eye on. The Raleigh transplant is quickly making a name for himself on the Charlotte scene. Though the CD came out a while ago, his first live show under the name is at Tremont Music Hall on Jan. 27.