Take a Bow


Over the course of three albums and three EPs, Greg Laswell has fostered a subdued sound that whispers softly but leaves an enormous impression. The self-produced Take a Bow is no exception. It’s his most formidable set yet, one that dispels the ambiguity of earlier efforts and replaces it with more stirring melodies and a genuinely compelling sonic palette. As always, Laswell specializes in minor-key ballads, but with songs such as “My Fight (For You)” and “In Front of Me,” the somber settings quickly swell into grand crescendos. Like his previous outings, Laswell continues to demonstrate a talent for balancing heartbreak and desire with solitary contemplation. But Take a Bow also finds some rare moments of optimism, particularly on the title track, “Off I Go” and “Take Everything” (the latter built around four-string tenor guitar and an effusive rhythm). Laswell has ample reason to heed his own album’s title.

–Lee Zimmerman

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