"Those who long for the breezy soft rock sound that typified California rock in the early ?70s will find Jeff Larson?s latest, Sepia, a refreshing revival. Like his pals, Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley, the duo that carries the America banner, Larson excels in creating lush, melodic sounds that are tailor made for radio and other forms of mass-consumption, an instantly accessible and agreeable approach that?s both assured and reassuring. Not surprisingly, Bunnell and Beckley make their presence known here as back-up players and writers, reinforcing the America comparisons on such songs as ?What About My Dreams and Cryin?? (not surprisingly, a Beckley composition). However, Larson doesn?t really need the superstar support (Brian Wilson collaborator Jeffrey Foskett also adds to the sunny ambiance); with several other stellar albums already under his belt, Sepia merely confirms what fans already know, namely that he?s one of the best pop pundits out there these days. Where others may rely on gimmicks or studio gadgetry, Larson?s forte is simply making memorable melodies. True to form, songs such as ?Suburban Lawns?, ?Broken Heart Smile? and ?Never Enough Time? tug at the heartstrings and make an indelible imprint even on first hearing. Chalk it up to the fact that he?s not on a major label, or that radio is simply too constricted to play mass appeal music, to explain the fact that Larson isn?t the major star he ought to be. Whatever the reason, don?t let it dissuade you. Simply put, Sepia is one of the best albums you?re likely to hear all year. "
Larson?s melodies sparkle, rise, and fall, not a note wasted or a phrase out of place. In some cases, his lyrics glimmer like reflections on the moving surface of the sea, thus suggesting poetic impressions of the subject matter, rather than making prosaic, obvious statements... The album opens with ?Place Where I Belong?; a little flash of Byrds-y jangle and echo catches your ear, and then you?re swept off into Jeff?s melodic world -- Andy Robison Wood & Steel
Grown-up rock music that never shies away from lyrical erudition and musical excellence - rarities in the modern rock landscape. -- Bucketfull of Brains (UK). Read the complete "Wood & Steel" review. Read the Robb Reports Home Entertainment & Design review.
"Sepia has effectively transported me to that special time, a magical evocation of a sublime epoch in pop music ? where breezy rhythms coalesced with rustic sensibilities topped with luscious melodies and harmonies that entranced and thrilled... the highlights include the pleasing opener ?Windblown Mind,? where the acoustic guitars gleam, the backing vocals soothe and Jeff croons about the diverse moods we experience in any given day; the Byrdsy folk-rock opus ?What About My Dreams,? where the wistful regret is palpable ? ?What about my tears/Always out of sight/Falling in the dark/Drying in the light;? the dynamic ?Getting Into Yesterday,? where Jeff recalls Joe Pernice?s plaintive musings whilst making a case for leaving the past behind ? ?So stop,/Getting into yesterday/Always with a price to pay? and the languorous ?Hazy Sunshine?... if you?re into the likes of King Radio, the Thrills and the Jayhawks, then there is no reason why Sepia should not be a part of your essential acquisitions for 2004" A+ - Kevin Matthews, (POP CULTURE PRESS, Power of Pop)
Usually, songwriters go for roots, country, or some strain of 60s pop and folk. This has none of that. It also avoids the dreck of MOR pop that bloated the late 70s and sucked the life out of artists like James Taylor and Jackson Browne. All 11 tracks on "Fragile Sunrise" follow that concept which Larson executes with pure honesty. Its all top-down-heart-felt easy listening pop that has a backbone. No deep philosophies or heavy politics; No noise or harsh intrusions; Only the perfect balance of well-crafted songs produced with care and no touch of schmaltz... Jeff Larson reconnects to that rare spirit that honors the song and the ability to write something lush and melodic and not sound schlocky doing it. A rare find. -- Pat Pierson, YEAH YEAH YEAH
Think of Fragile Sunrise as you would a Speyside single-malt scotch: smooth and elegant, with a refined flavor that may not appeal to all tastes, but is certain to be a favorite of the enlightened few... Every song here is a classic waiting to unfold?from ?Halfmoon Bay,? which features America alumnus Dewey Bunnell, to the haunting ?Another Slight Addiction??but the real standout is ?Changing Colors.? This genuinely sweet ballad, with its gorgeous harmony from the Eagles? Timothy B. Schmit and complex, layered acoustic guitar, will make even a middling set of speakers sound like pure gold. -- Dennis Burger, Robb Reports Home Entertainment & Design
This is an album that stimulates your DNA and makes you feel nostalgic and refreshed. So whether you experienced a past sound movement in real time or not, I strongly recommend this album, because you can appreciate the excellent musical pieces created by this quality singer songwriter. -- Susumu Saeki ADLIB, Japan
The ten track "fragile sunrise"CD features a number of striking Larson originals along with his stunning cover of the song ?Norman? - penned by Gerry Beckley from the group America. As the new album conveys, Larson is a masterful songwriter... Fragile Sunrise offers a consummate pop music experience. -- Robert Silverstien, 20th Century Guitar
Singer/songwriter Jeff Larson posseses one of the most magnificent, expressive Pop voices around... With Fragile Sunrise, Larson has penned great songs, used A+ assistance (Americas Beckley, Jeffrey Foskett, Timothy B. Schmit) to fashion his own vision of classic pop. -- John Holcomb, AMPLIFIER