Posted October 28, 2006 by Mike Mineo in Features

The Red West


Since I’m one of the many admirers of the late Jeff Buckley, I find that comparisons to Buckley ofen fall incredibly short of expectations. So far, the majority of those who have listened to the Orange County-based alternative band, The Red West, have made an instant comparison between the vocals of The Red West’s Jayson Belt and Jeff Buckley, making their similarities worth more than actual initials. Do the contrasts fall up short? Of course they do, but that’s besides the point. Belt’s vocals do not have a vocal range of four octaves, though he certainly streches it out. While it is true that Belt is blessed with a similar vocal ability, you will often find him exceeding the amount of appropriate effort as far as the vocals though, perhaps trying too hard, resulting in something unnatural. Most of the time, however, he is incredibly enjoyable. Many of the melodies are just as enjoyable as Buckley’s, though many being more simplistic and lo-fi.

‘Noel’ mimics the brooding emotion of unreturned passion, as Belt delivers some of his strongest vocals in one of The Red West’s more thunderous songs. Each verse begins noticably similarly “Curse the day we first made love,” “Curse the time that I wasted so patiently”, Belt sings detailing an obvious heartfelt distaster. As the song progresses, the Buckley comparison is continued to be beat to death as he lifts his vocals to new heights about one and a half minutes into the song. “No, you can’t find a way, no you can’t fall away,” abruptly begins a new chorus over a rushed frenzy of distrorted guitars. On a lighter note, the highly enjoyable ‘TwentyOne’ is an acoustic rendition, nothing too complex at all. Despite the lack of variation, the gradual addition of strings is a very nice touch in addition with the emotional chorus: “It’s not that easy, it’s not that hard to find a reason to carry on.” Many of Belt’s verses seem to be in the form of a proverb, a lesson for all. ‘Whatever You Say’ is more in the mold of their labeled genre of “adult alternative”, with a pleasant chorus coinciding nicely with a few mellifluous verses, while not being as daring as the other two. Either way, it’s nice to see a talented band come out of Orange County that isn’t a bunch of emo boys trying to look pretty. Their commendable self-titled debut was released in 2001. The band is currently working on a new album due for release early next year.


The Red West – Noel



The Red West – TwentyOne



The Red West – Whatever You Say



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Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine. Send your music to [email protected].