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Tim Lee – No Discretion

The advertising for Tim Lee’s new album No Discretion begins with the proclamation: “13 songs… 6 recording studios in 3 states… 16 musicians… 18 months… 1 finished product…” These are some impressive numbers, which lead the soon to be listener to believe that they hold a magnum opus in their hands. That this is an album whose songs proudly display the depth of their varied origins, honed to perfection. This seems an inappropriate statement for No Discretion, which seems to revel in the simplicity of its garage sound.


No Discretion has the feel of a live album, perhaps due to the fact all of the songs have been played live long before being recorded, while some were recorded live in the studio. Tim Lee has produced an album of bare bones rock with very few fancy-pants effects. His Southern origins are apparent in style and in his voice, which seems to waiver between Michael Stipe and Jimmy Buffet. Many of the songs are filled with loud and dirty guitar riffs, punctuated with a basic drumbeat.

No Discretion kicks off with the up-tempo, toe tapping, “I Wanna Believe.” It slows down with the songs “New Hope” and “The Rain Came Down.” My problem is that most of the songs on the album have the same sound even if they change tempo. A simple bass-line and drumbeat under a guitar with the reverb cranked all the way up. I don’t think that Tim Lee is trying to break new ground with No Discretion, but it begins to sound like many of the other bands I have heard in smoky clubs across the South.

It is my understanding that this album is classified as “Power Pop,” but to me it sounds like Southern Rock. Simple, yet twangy. If you long for a time before bands had a multitude of sound effects at their fingertips, then this just might be the album for you.


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