Happiness Is Boring
As rock-n-roll reinventions go, few are as subtly successful as that of Brian Lisik on his latest release, 'Happiness Is Boring.' From his punky, hard-rock beginnings in the late 1990's as the founder and frontman of pathetically charming slop rockers The Giants of Science, through the folksy, radio-friendly pop of 2004's solo debut, 'Baggage,' Lisik has never been shy about experimenting with his brand of rough-hewn, R&B-based Americana. With 'Happiness Is Boring,' he authentically channels the spirit of the endearing, Beatles-fueled early '70s power pop movement without forsaking any of the best qualities of his former musical incarnations. Rife with Big Star-inspired riffs and Lisik's most confident and convincing singing to date, the succint collection (it clocks in at a fleet 37 minutes) doesn't bludgeon listeners with quite the volume and bombast of past outings. But to say Lisik has hit his stride here as a singer, songwriter, and musician is a vast understatement. It would also be a disservice to chart the Ohio-based singer's development without underscoring the contributions of his brother, Craig Lisik (who did yeoman's work as lead guitarist, drummer, bassists, pianist, and co-author of five of the disc's 11 songs) and album producer Todd Tobias - who has also helmed projects from Guided By Voices and that band's iconic frontman, Robert Pollard. In Tobias's sleek, punchy, no-frills production and the Lisik brothers' alternately tender and ferocious instrumental attack, 'Happiness Is Boring' finds it's soul. Mini character studies like the Little Leaguer in 'Helicopters,' the distraught but hopeful family man in 'The Poor Kids' and 'Same Old Scene,' the luckless lover in 'Michele,' and the brothers' own late father in 'The Roses' are quintessential Brian Lisik. Yet 'Happiness' stands apart as something never quite captured on past recordings. If you were asking yourself, 'who the hell is Brian Lisik?' before picking up this disc, 'Happiness Is Boring' will answer that question in no uncertain terms. At least until his next release... 'Brian Lisik, my friends, is the real deal' - Rikks Revues.