Mistakes Regrets & Coffee
After molding his music in his native Georgia and New York, Allen's transition to the musical hub of the West was exactly what was needed to take his sound to the next level. The additions of drummer Kenwood Anderson and bassist Keith Eaddy add another dimension to Allen's debut Mistakes, Regrets and Coffee, a conservative but ultimately strong showcase in his genre. A student of the singer/songwriter school of thought where breezy melodies with sparse instrumentation and storybook lyrics run rampant, Allen earns an "A" in execution and exhibition. Frequent coffeehouse-goers would find his traditional approach enjoyable and appropriate as the soundtrack to an easygoing Sunday afternoon. Though there are instances on the album where tempos vary and tones become noticeably distinct from track to track, the cohesiveness of the overall collection is one of Allen's best attributes. Take, for instance, the introductory track "Will I Be Fine." The intricately strewn piano and guitar lines maintain a balance all the way through, even during the hook where Allen delivers a powerfully delicate declaration (similar to Ian Ball of Gomez) and the instrumental backing is at it's peak. Allen stays in his comfort zone with "Andy," a radio-friendly pop gem, but proves he can dip his hand in other sorts of arrangements. "Mistakes," a later track that is stylistically less refined and rawer, gives off the feeling that the artist is naturally progressing into an acoustic rocker. Allen still covers the everyday tribulations of life - heartbreak, learning from mistakes and moving on - but on his first release, it's clear he is also figuring out where to go next.