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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Dudley Saunders

Monsters

Review by Gary Hill

Folk, rock, blues, country, adult contemporary music and even some jazz are on display here. Mind you, not all of that is present on each and every song, but that roundup pretty much hits the range of things here. This is a good album that flows well and seems pretty consistent.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
We Were Right

Acoustic folk rock motifs dominate this cut. It feels like something that would have been at home on the radio in the early 1970s. This is a cool tune. It gets more involved as it continues, but overall that folk rock style dominates.

Zero Out
The bass brings a bit of a jazz underpinning to this one. Overall, though, the music is more of singer songwriter motif merged with soft folk rock. It’s a more intimate and in many ways stronger tune than the opener.
Monster
This one is even mellower, but what it lacks in volume, it more than makes up for in emotion. The drama and charm of this song is powerful. It’s a very evocative ballad that really tugs at the heart strings.
The Man in the Game
More energized, this doesn’t lose anything in the process. Indeed, it’s just as dramatic and emotionally charged as the previous track was. That says a lot, really.
Roving
With some intricate guitar work, this is a fairly delicate folk song.
What Rats Are We
The folk music elements remain in place, but the later sections of this are more like adult contemporary stuff. The vocal delivery and song structure are both solid. I’m just not crazy about the arrangement on this. It just feels a little too much like “old people’s music.” The vocal performance late in the track really shines, though.
What I Won't Do
There are some country and blues elements in the mix on this tune. Overall, though, it’s good Americana. It’s a potent piece that manages to rock while remaining pretty mellow.  It features some killer slide guitar playing.
Wheelchair in the 7-11 Parking Lot
I really like this one a lot. The mellow, folk sort of arrangement works well. The song itself is among the most evocative of the set.
Rosewood Casket
Here’s another strong tune. It’s based in that same folk rock style. The only thing is, at this point it’s starting to get a bit samey. The tune does get powered up nicely, but we really could use a little more variety here.
Coal Tattoo
I wanted a change, and I got it. This is an acapella tune that feels like old gospel music. It only works so well for me, but it is a well-needed bit of variety. It sounds a lot like “Amazing Grace” to me. Additionally, it seems to go on a bit too long.

 

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