Brandon Wiard – Painting a Burning Building

To date there are countless indie acoustic bands singing about love, loss, cigarettes and late night fast food. However, Brandon Wiard’s Painting a Burning Building begs not to be tossed into the old vintage storage trunk just yet. He’s a just a boy trying to get through this world in a slightly starry-eyed daze of contentment and peaceful musing. And if there is a lady companion, then everybody raise a glass and throw some money into his open guitar case because his candid, yearning, stream-of-consciousness serenades must be working.

Clearly Brandon Wiard is indie rock/pop. I’d almost like to say Midwestern, but somehow I get a coastal feel from it. What sets him apart from the rest of the acoustic junkies is that for one thing, his last name is pronounced ‘wired.’ Yeah, I thought that it was ‘weird’ too. Actually I kind of liked it that way…

Anyway, some will say he sounds like Ben Kweller, Wilco, Teenage Fanclub or Elvis Costello. I say … I’ve never really listened to any of them too much so I couldn’t really tell you. But if you’re like me and uneducated in the ways of the above mentioned bands, let me further confuse you. While listening to Painting a Burning Building, I couldn’t help being reminded of Rilo Kiley in their Takeoffs & Landings days but if Jenny Lewis was John Mayer. And rocked harder.

Another thing I find interesting about Wiard is that he’s a leader of the underdogs. Musically speaking. I’m surprised I haven’t heard this on the radio before. It’s perfect to blast driving now the highway to Nowheresville or pop into the walkman for those thoughtful walks on the beach. But only if you’re thinking of the one you fancy.

Personal faves include “Miss Michigan,” “Permanent Smile,” “Caroline,” and “Old Heartless Sun.” I might have to send a plea to The WB to use “Miss Michigan” in one of their angst teen dramas. And whoever Caroline is, she’s a lucky girl. Wiard’s a skilled songwriter- he’s got all the instrumental elements down to pluck that certain heartstring (my personal favorite being the moog. And no, not just because it’s fun to say … ok maybe a little). The piano solos are sure to get stuck in your head, and I’m a sucker for any crazy medleys hidden in the back tracks. They’re odd, completely differently styled, but amusing. Of course the lyrics are of the most important elements, and boy are they something. There’s not really one theme you can use to characterize Wiard, but you’re sure to hear many a tune about girls, moving on, growing up and disillusioned society. It’s all neatly packaged with drums, guitars, violins, and pianos and of course that crazy moog. And throw in a choir, why not.

Painting a Burning Building is definitely worth a listen. If anything, it’ll inspire you to start your own band. Or at least start writing poetry. I can’t say much for the title of Wiard’s sophomore album, but I suggest he keep doing what he’s doing. And if painting burning buildings inspires him, let’s just hope he doesn’t get burned in the process.

(self released)

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