"Oil & Water"
“American Idol” has produced only a handful of legitimate mainstream pop acts, and Lee DeWyze is not one of them. With “Oil & Water,” the season–nine winner plays it soft and safe. The album is a generic mess that is best left alone.
What hits from the first track through the last is a strange echo behind DeWyze’s voice. It sounds artificial and distracting and makes his voice louder than the soft guitar underneath it. His voice is pretty simple, and he stays well within a certain whiny range, never revving up or straying far from his indie rock formula.
Every single song on “Oil & Water” blends together and sounds alike. The subject matter shifts slightly, as does the tone of some songs, but nonetheless every track is DeWyze softly crooning over an acoustic guitar. His voice is not notable enough to establish a haunting atmosphere, or a happy one for that matter. There are no standouts on this album, again, because they all sound alike.
DeWyze attempts to make the listener feel his loneliness, as it’s the major theme throughout the album, yet there is no juxtaposition. He comes off as carrying on about his pain rather than actually expressing it. He says he needs companionship, but there’s so little power in his voice that it sounds inauthentic. It’s not a gripping album where one hinges on his next word. It’s boring and leaves listeners longing for something more.
“Oil & Water” is a huge pass and a simple indie-rock album with little ambition. It is rare for an album to be under a half hour and still feel very long to listen to. Little emotion comes through on the songs, and it leaves the listener pining for more sophistication.