Review
Serpe
A Night in Gin's Hollow

Home Recorded Culture (2006) Kevin Fitzpatrick

Serpe – A Night in Gin's Hollow cover artwork
Serpe – A Night in Gin's Hollow — Home Recorded Culture, 2006

I don't think I can do it. I consider myself to be at least a capable writer, but it's going to be hard as hell to do a review of this album in any kind of acceptable length without five or ten non-sequiturs skewing off into long-winded tales of personal medical scares, pet deaths, and the time I was an extra in a movie about a monkey that played hockey.

Performing acoustic rock is for the most part, a thankless job. Sure, you might luck out and have management give you free biscotti after your set, but that's about it. Michael John Serpe has balls. It takes balls to get up there with nothing but a guitar and maybe a drum track and sing songs that are close to your heart hoping like hell you make at least enough of a connection to sell a copy or two of your self-produced album. We all know DIY is the way to go. It takes moxie and it takes gumption but it doesn't necessarily take talent. This is the problem with Serpe's A Night in Gin's Hollow. Serpe appears to be a capable musician with an utterly forgettable voice and less-than-memorable songs. See, despite my sometimes acidic demeanor - I don't like shitting on artists or their art, even when the word "art" could scarcely be applied. I truly look for something to like in everything I hear and what makes an album good for me is only one thing…..Do I want to hear this album again? Then of course, I bust out all the reasons why I do or don't like it.

This is what makes A Night in Gin's Hollow so frustrating - I can get a very palpable sense that there's something to grab hold of - something to grasp on to, something that'll make me say "I like this." But after repeated listens (if nothing else, to give the guy a fair shake), I'm sorry to say that I just haven't found it. Acoustic rock is hard as hell to pull off, and unless it's an effortless talent like Hayden or Mark Lanegan, you better be fucking good or no one's going to give a shit. I almost think the songs on A Night in Gin's Hollow would be better served as instrumental numbers. A scary prospect, as the general consensus would appear to be that the only place instrumental acoustic rock/folk belongs is on a street corner, and let's leave that job for the filthy hippies, shall we?

Serpe – A Night in Gin's Hollow cover artwork
Serpe – A Night in Gin's Hollow — Home Recorded Culture, 2006

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