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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Harmonic Blue

Villa Borghese EP

Review by Gary Hill

This is quite a cool set of music. It’s basically set somewhere in the neighborhood of jam band meets blues rock meets jazz meets singer/songwriter sounds. Often times the vocals make me think of Sting. There’s nothing weak here, but then again no clear winners either. It’s all sort of at the same level. Of course, when that level’s, this good, who’s complaining?

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Hey

Percussion starts the tune off before some jazz guitar chordings join. The vocals seem to call to mind Sting just a bit. Overall this is a mid-tempo groove with a lot of jazz and blues built into it. It’s a strong number and a great way to start the whole set off in style.

NO8DO
Bluesy guitar picking opens this cut, but it has more of a Hendrix does psychedelia vibe as that continues. The thing is, it’s just a short little instrumental cut. It’s more of a segue than anything else.
I Go, She Goes
Bluesy guitar opens the cut and it shifts out to more of a singer/songwriter meets classic rock treatment from there. The Police comparison in terms of the vocals (particularly with the backing vocals) is also valid here. Also some of the guitar sounds feel like subdued Hendrix a bit again, too. There’s some killer melodic guitar soloing later, calling to mind jam band sounds. The jam later almost has a progressive rock vibe, but there is also a bit of a Police vibe to it.
Silver Spoon
Picked guitar starts this tune. The mode is pretty mellow and the vocals are among the most powerful and melodic here. Mind you, they are still a little understated. This cut works through some changes and sits somewhere in a bluesy rock meets singer/songwriter and jam band territory.
Subreality
A spacey sort of jam band vibe opens this number. As it works out from there some harmonica is added to the mix, shifting the focus and the flavor. This becomes a killer retro rock jam that’s got hints of modern alternative rock. It’s arguably the most purely jam band like number of the set and includes some cool bass playing mid-track.
Villa Borghese

The guitar picking on the title track is inspired. There’s almost a country vibe to this at times, but overall it fits more into the jam band meets jazz phase. That said, it turns a little heavy here and there, too. Some horn is added to this instrumental for good effect. And, even though this doesn’t have vocals, it might be the best tune here. That really says a lot.

Sturgeon Moon

Alternative rock, classic rock, jam band sounds and bluesy jamming are all heard on this killer tune. It’s another great number on a disc that’s full of great numbers.

 
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