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Going to the Sun

Love Letters From The Western Gate

Review by Gary Hill

I previously reviewed another set from this act. I think I like that one a bit better than this one, but I'm not positive about that. There is a real modern pop sensibility here. There is more going on than that, though. The opening part of the set really struggles a bit with being monolithic. Of course, a lot of people just listen to music a song or two at a time, so it wouldn't be an issue in that regard. The thing is, it's three of the first four songs that are the most like one another. Had a couple of those been moved to later in the track list, I think they would have been able to stand out better, and it would have been a stronger release. Still, there are no bad songs here, and this works reasonably well as it is.

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Track by Track Review
Music For A Party
The mellower sections of this remind me a bit of Collective Soul. The number has some rocking parts that balance it nicely. This is catchy, energized and a lot of fun.
Hopeful Song
Another catchy tune, this again has a good contrast between the more powered up and mellower movements. The tune works well, but isn't a big change from the previous one.
Broken, Still Beating (feat. Tonia Hughes Kendrick and Sara Renner)
This classy tune is just as accessible as the first couple numbers, but it's also a bit harder rocking. It's a bit of a powerhouse, really. I dig the keyboard textures on the number, and the whole thing just works so well. In fact, this is one of my favorites here.
Western Gate
We're back into the zone of mellower movements alternated with more rocking ones. This is another number that works pretty well by itself. It's energetic and catchy. It just doesn't vary enough from the first couple songs to really feel unique. That said, the more powered up movement at the end is all class.
Dark Before The Dawn
Intricate guitar and pretty musical textures combine with non-lyrical vocals as this starts. The tune has a mellower mode than a lot of the other stuff as it gets going, but it's also one of the most dramatic pieces here. It's also one of the standouts. It's a bit moodier than the songs that have come before it, too.
Remember Who You Are
There is more of a classic rock element here. This is less trendy and pop oriented than some of the others, but it does have a modern pop hook section built into it. Other than that movement, this is another that has a bit of a moodier vibe, too. It's one that stands out as different and works better than some of the others, too.
Another of the standout cuts, the alternative rock vibes here are more on the moody side. There is a good dynamic range here, too. This tune is packed full of emotion and manages some really soaring sections along the ride.
A real cowboy music element merges with the alternative pop rock that's prevalent on the disc. This is one of the best songs here, in part because of the variety, but also because it's just a cool piece. The whistling bit at the end is a nice touch, too.
Closer Every Day
This is a bit of a soaring alternative rocker with both mellower and more rocking sections. It's accessible and strong. It's not a highlight, but it is a good tune, just like everything here is. .
What Would I Say
I like the moody mellower parts of this track a lot. That's not to say I don't like the more powered up parts. They provide a resolution for the others. Neither would work as well without the other, but for me those mellower parts seem to convey emotion better. There are some almost proggy bits that come into the track late, too. This is perhaps not one of my favorites here, but it is very strong and serves as a great closing number. The instrumental section is so powerful.
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