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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Jaik Miller Band

Jaik Miller Band

Review by Gary Hill

These guys have not reinvented the wheel. Instead they’ve put a cool rim on it. The music here is pretty standard rock and roll. It’s real roots based Americana. They do a great job of creating music that stays true to that general stylistic territory while still creating intriguing musical motifs. It may not shock our sensibilities, but it manages to surprise a bit from time to time. It never fails to entertain.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Another Good Look
This has a cool hard rock and roll riff and a classic rock sound. It feels like it could have graced your radio in the mid 1970’s. There’s a bit of a Black Crowes vibe here. The instrumental section on this one is quite tasty.
4447
The riff that drives this feels really familiar. There’s almost a Clapton vibe here. This is a bit more balladic, but I wouldn’t really call it “a ballad.” I like the vocal arrangement on this one a lot. While I’m not sure that I like this track as much as the opener, it’s a contender. They are different enough that it makes it a bit hard to compare them. There’s an almost Cat Stevens like vibe here at times along with a little hint of Buddy Holly.
Orange Sunshine
They begin things a lot more tentatively here. This is a mellower number that reminds me just a bit of The Band. When they power up there’s even just a hint of a jazz vibe on the piece.
Furthermore
The tone is dropped back even more here to a folky sort of ballad approach. The gravely vocals call to mind Dr. John or perhaps Tom Waits a bit. They bring it up to more of a rock and roll style, and you might hear traces of The Allman Brothers or The Black Crowes on this. The guitar soloing (while there are still vocals – I always love that) definitely bring in that Allman Brothers comparison.

Social Disease
Here we get more of a rock and roll/post punk sound. This is a cool track and a nice change, having more in common with ‘80’s sounds than the decade that preceded it.

Keep Movin
A wahing, funky sound begins this and as it carries forward the song takes on a definite reggae feel. The whole thing is another tasty slab of retro rock and roll. In some ways the guitar sound reminds me a lot of Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians’ “What I Am.”
Sweet Illumination
Here’s another slab of no frills rock. It’s amazing how these guys can stay so true to one musical motif and still change it up from track to track. This is another cool one, and actually one of the stronger pieces on show here. I hear the Cat Stevens leaning on the vocals of this.
Your Own Light
This is a lot mellower than the rest of the disc, feeling like an acoustic rock balladic cut. It doesn’t break any molds, but makes for a good change of pace.
After Last Call
The one possible misstep of the disc, this suffers a bit from placement. Frankly, since it’s a slow and sedate track it would have been better utilized between two faster tracks rather than after “Your Own Light.” By itself it’s one of the strongest pieces on show here. It’s delivery simply reeks of emotion. I just wish they’d shifted the position of this one or the one before a bit to let it breath a little more.
The Air Up There
With a hint of funk, this is a faster paced rocker that’s quite cool. This has a great vibe and a bit of that Cat Stevens thing from time to time. It’s also got a killer guitar solo.
Anything You Don't Want
This raw rocker has a bit of a punk texture. It’s another strong tune on a disc that’s quite consistently strong.
There’s A Whole World on Fire
They end things with an acoustic guitar based ballad. I’m not sure this is the best choice to close things as it’s so mellow. On the other hand, it’s probably the best piece of music on the CD, so that gives it a bit of credibility for ending things.
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