Red Umbrella puts up their Wishing for Boardwalk disc with just not quite enough gusto to keep lock that umbrella into the open position. They come on with a brand of rock akin to Switchfoot, Delirious?, U2, and PFR, but there’s never enough crunch.
The songs are tight and have hills and valleys which carry the emotion of the lyrics that do fairly well exploring the Scriptural themes. Yet, it’s like the band’s own production (and their other producers and engineers) couldn’t really let those guitar breaks crackle like Switchfoot. Nowhere does lead vocalist Jeremy Michaelis reach for the stretched intensity of Delirious?, let alone the soul-lifting of Bono’s lead. Any of early PFR’s kick seems subverted to a worship band approach.
Of course, normally I don’t review stuff I don’t like. Therefore, you could decide that I chose to review Red Umbrella in order to pick on them. However, I like Wishing for Boardwalk, enough that I played it on every kind of stereo at my disposal—office, Discman, car, and home stereo on the big speakers. I did all of that, because I know the crunch is there in these songs and this band. It’s not necessarily here on the album, but I sense something more that could come out of my speakers. I’ll be waiting like the old RCA Victor dog with his ear up to the Victrola.
Oh, and this final comment has nothing to do with the band. Relevant magazine reviewed this CD and said that it had a “post-Smiths Morrissey” feel. This proves that Relevant doesn’t know anything about Morrissey. I can’t find Morrissey under this umbrella.