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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Midwest Hype

Dayglo

Review by Gary Hill

This is an intriguing set. These guys have a sound that’s really hard to pin down. There’s jazz and R & B in the mix, but it’s also got alternative pop rock. Even more prevalent, though are hip hop and reggae elements. Whatever you call this music, though, it’s compelling and captivating. It’s also quite a unique blend. I like this a lot.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Behind Our Eyes

Horns start this and they take it out to a bouncy kind of groove. It’s got hip-hop, reggae and a lot of other sounds built into it. In some ways this feels a little like Barenaked Ladies, particularly in the somewhat crazy, off-kilter element. They take it into a more melodic element for nice effect. This is quite a cool tune that’s hard to pin down in terms of style or genre. There’s even a straight up rap in the middle of the cut. It’s accessible despite feeling a little “weird.”

Elastic Booty Shorts
While the blend of sounds isn’t as diverse here, this is sort of like a bouncy rap meets an electronic pop sound. Still, that doesn’t take the horns into account, and the horn section is a great touch, along with the soaring melodic movement. There’s even a Chuck Mangione name check and musical quote built into this.
All Is Water
Jazz meets a smooth R & B groove as this comes into existence. This tune is the most straightforward ride to this point. It’s definitely more mainstream than the first two cuts, and does a great job of living within a real jazzy jam. This is arguably the strongest tune of the set. Still, they do add a rap near the end.
Runaway
Starting with acoustic guitar motifs, the cut takes on a definite reggae vibe as it shifts to the next section. The chorus, though, is surely set in a modern pop rock sound. There’s a smoking hot jazz-like section complete with saxophone solo. Still, it gets a hip-hop element added through a rap.
Do Or Die
This powers in with a cool jazz rock vibe, then it turns more hip-hop oriented. From there we get more jazzy sounds merged with reggae. A killer jazz rock jam is heard from there. And, then, in a constant shifting pattern, it turns towards a real hip hop based movement. A high energy jam emerges later in the piece that really seems to do a great job of merging that rock sound with the jazz elements. This is certainly another highlight of the set.
People of America
While reggae is the main sound on this one, the other elements are heard, as well. The funny thing is, this is a really good number, it just seems to pale in comparison to the killer that preceded it.
 
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