Chicago’s Sarantos‘ stockpile of songs and wide scope of lyrical content is front and center in his debut album, Not Where I Want To Be. It’s that ‘where,’ that I pondered while listening – as a reviewer it’s difficult to pigeonhole a body of work like this into one category.
Sarantos strings you along in some tracks like he’s bating you with fresh, synthesizer rock tracks “Are You Sure You Can Last,” “Believe” and “I’d Give Anything.” These eclectic tunes range from The Postal Service, to The Smiths, to Tears For Fears. Sarantos’ vocals are clear – like Owl City, but he lacks strong range. He didn’t captivate me with his voice, but his lyrics are moving and easy to drift into.
I have to say the chorus in “Are You Sure You Can Last” is catchy and I felt like the power behind this track was heavier than the more melodic-guitar flavored riffs in “Believe.”
Besides rock, Sarantos tackles the country (“A Country Song”) and even hip-hop (loose description here – it was more like slam poetry) in “Why.” I give him high marks for showcasing his broad talents and exercising new avenues for his art.
Some other stand out hits besides my favorite “Are You Sure You Can Last” are the title track, “I’d Give Anything” and “Nothing To Hide.” Bravo to Sarantos for creating a varying collection of interesting hooks and thoughtful lyrics. He leaves his listeners with many questions, but certainly his talent is confidently answered. He’s got the goods.