Imagine, if you can, the quintessential enthusiast of West Michigan’s music scene. That concert-going, WYCE-listening, craft beer-drinking fan would be hard-pressed to find an artist more representative of his or her tastes than Brandon “El Brandino” Proch. The inviting energy, songwriting prowess and range of genre heard on Proch’s debut album (on which he sings and plays every instrument) put him right at home in Grand Rapids. Proch first cut his teeth in the Grand Rapids area as a member of punk bands Three Cents Short and Cashed Out, and more recently as a saxophonist, backing up the likes of Ultraviolet Hippopotamus, May Erlewine and Mustard Plug for live performances. “A Work in Progress,” evokes the essence of those peers with a delightful blend of jam-rock, ska, punk, blues and folk. Let “The Sentence,” “Figuratively Speaking” and a handful of live-looped ditties serve as evidence, Proch continuously keeps things fun and interesting. Whether he’s playing guitar, saxophone, drums or even scatting, the musicianship is top-notch and in service to the songs. Perhaps the most enjoyable track on the album is the hilarious “I Should’ve Played a Cover,” in which Proch raises a toast to “how much this song sucks.” It’s in jest, of course, but that’s just the point. This album is epically fun.
– Devin Anderson