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Non-Prog CD Reviews

War Tapes

The Continental Divide

Review by Gary Hill

Fans of ‘80’s music will certainly like this disc. It feels like it could have come from that era – although there are some more modern sounds, too. I have to say that it gets a little tiresome in the monolithic nature at a couple points, but they manage to change things up enough to keep it from getting too boring. Once the last song plays out let the CD continue to play because one of the coolest pieces on show here comes in the form of a hidden track after some silence.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
The Night Unfolds

They waste no time firing out into a fast paced jam. This has a lot of The Cure built into it. It's harder edged than that, though. Still, the 80s new wave hard rock element drives this in a lot of ways. The later section is really a powerhouse.

Dreaming Of You
If the last cut had an ‘80’s vibe, that element really pervades this one. It feels like it could have been all over MTV in the 1980’s.
She Lied
The musical concepts of the last couple tracks are continued here with an energetic piece. The chorus on this is both angry and catchy and pulls this one up above those previous pieces. 
Start Again
While this is a mellower piece of music, somehow it feels a little more like metal – particularly on the guitar solo.
Use Me
There’s a more punky edge to this, but still plenty of ‘80’s music in the mix. 
All The World's A Stage
In a lot of ways this doesn’t differ much, but it’s a bit proggy and quite tasty. There’s a more complex arrangement to this one and I can make out a lot of Radiohead influence here. This is a highlight of the disc. 
Mind Is Ugly
Reminding me quite a bit of the Cure, this is one of the most angry and hard edged cuts on the disc. It’s also a killer.
Rightfully Mine
This isn’t all that different from a lot of the other music here and the formula is beginning to wear a little thin. Still, there’s a cool guitar chaos section on this one that gives it a bit of a different character.
Air Filled Romance
Although a lot of this seems lost in a similar musical zone as what’s dominated the rest of the set, it has a tasty noise rock segment to give it some variety.
For Eternity
To me this sounds like a crunchy version of something from A Flock of Seagulls or The Church or even early U2. There are some female vocals added to the mix at points and there are also hints of space rock. All these things add up to a track that transcends the monolithic nature of the disc and stands tall as one of the highlights. 
Fast Lane
Much more like Radiohead, this is sort of a ballad-type number. It really reminds me a lot of “Creep”. It’s a bit of well-needed variety. They pound it out later into some angry chaos before an extended space effect section ends it. 
Hidden Track
Some silence gives way to a pretty piano ballad with a female vocal line. It’s a bit strange in its production, but it’s also quite cool. In some ways it feels amateurish – but yet it’s my favorite track on show here. If the whole disc sounded like this it would fit into the progressive rock category.
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