Eli Flynn delights with concise pop-rock on debut solo album 

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Rochester audiences are well acquainted with Eli Flynn as a current member of the bands Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Upward Groove, and The Able Bodies, and on the stylistically diverse “Running With Scissors” — his debut solo album — there’s never a dull moment.

“Easier” demonstrates Flynn’s prowess as a rock vocalist as he snarls his way through the melody with a limber range and soulful swagger that recalls the aplomb of Gavin DeGraw on his 2003 breakthrough album “Chariot.”

“Every Word Is a Mountain” borrows from The Able Bodies’s playbook of danceable ’90s pop that grooves, but mixed metaphors about “my love in a sling” and “broken logic hanging from a silver chair” distract from the song’s natural charms.

Flynn’s words regain focus on the very next track. “There was a time in the beginning when devotion kept me spinning but that time is past,” he sings with calm wisdom on “Hell in a Handbasket.” Slide guitar and a Fender Rhodes organ sound meld over a loping tempo that flows like a lazy river: “Have you ever met your demons, took their advice without reason? Well I have.”

Flynn understands the value of a concise pop song that leaves the listener wanting more. Four of the tracks are little more than two minutes and 30 seconds long. “Two Graves” and the title track, in particular, benefit from guitar hooks as catchy as they are pithy.

Throughout the record, occasional wisps of soul and funk refresh the natural charm of Flynn’s charismatic tunes. The music was entrusted to sound engineers Lincoln All and Aaron Lipp, whose supervision of mixing and mastering, respectively, gives the album its polish.

Eli Flynn plays the album release show for “Running With Scissors” on Saturday, October 28, at Three Heads Brewing, with the doors opening at 7:30 p.m. and Garth Clark playing the opening set. $10.

Daniel J. Kushner is an arts writer at CITY. He can be reached at [email protected].
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