Published: November, 2006, West Coast Performer Magazine

Keith Varon "Love Is A Hero"
(Velvet Tone)
Produced and engineered by Joey Muller
Mixed by Mark Needham, Jacquire King, Brian Schuble, David Simon Baker and Joey Muller

By Michael Fortes

Keith Varon’s first full-length album stands to position him as the next big success story to come out of the Bay Area. His studied, carefully crafted brand of pop and rock as heard on Love Is A Hero draws on the familiar sounds of acoustic and electric guitars, piano, bass and drums, all tied together with smooth vocals and pristine production.

While there are bursts of electric guitar on songs like “After All” and “Intoxicated,” they are compressed and mixed down for a more palatable sound. The trippy effects at the close of “Meet Me In The Middle” also suggest that Varon certainly has a taste for the brash and edgy sides of mainstream rock, yet the young songwriter’s album is clearly more in line with the tastes of the adult pop scene. Think of Varon’s contemporaries as Five For Fighting, Goo Goo Dolls or Howie Day.

Like his contemporaries, the subject matter of Varon’s songs is a powerful draw for the young as well. The title of the album should give that one away fairly easily. Not only that, the use of “Can’t Breathe” on MTV’s Laguna Beach speaks volumes for Varon’s ability to write songs that can touch a broad spectrum of listeners.

From start to finish, Love Is A Hero keeps working hard to make a connection. All 12 of the album’s songs are sturdy examples of mainstream adult pop-rock. There’s no filler to be found here — any of these songs would be single-worthy, whether it’s the rockin’ “After All” or the yearning acoustic album closer “A Fall From the Edge.” With such uniform quality, Varon stands to make, and keep, a lot of new fans.