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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The Raskins

The Raskins

Review by Gary Hill

One could almost say that The Raskins are a gimmick band. That’s because they are twin brothers. Still, gimmick band implies a lack of talent and these guys have talent. They just seem to be a little underdeveloped in terms of creativity in some ways. That’s represented in two ways. For one thing their sound is rather generic, feeling very much like any number of modern pop rock acts. Secondly, there isn’t enough variety here to keep it interesting for the whole duration. It starts to all sound the same. Both those things, though, can be attributed to a lack of experience. Given that this is their first album, it’s likely they will improve with time. And, considering as good as all these songs really are, that bodes well for this act.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
We Had It All

With a bit of a punk edge, this is great take no prisoners rock and roll. It has a bit of a metal crunch to it. The vocal hooks are quite catchy. It’s great stuff and an excellent way to start things in style. The melodic almost proggy edge on parts of this is classy.

Need Another Hero
There’s more of a mainstream rock vibe to this. It’s modern, but also rooted in classic elements. This is melodic, but still has plenty of punch and drive.     
Lost in the Dark
This is even more based in modern pop rock. The keyboard elements here, along with the general arrangement bring a pretty strong, but also non-descript sound to the table. The guitar solo, though, is quite meaty.
Open Our Eyes
More of a melodic pop rock song, this is sort of a power ballad. It’s set in modern styles, but has some retro sensibilities.
Scream out Loud
There is a lot more of a rock and roll vibe here. Still, it’s got plenty of that melodic modern pop sound in the mix.
On the Radio
Although this has some energy and oomph on the introduction, it’s one of the most mainstream and rather generic pop tunes of the set. It’s okay, but not up to the same level as the other material here.
Save Me Now
More hard edged and meaty, this is one of the better tracks on the set. It still has some of that modern pop sound in the mix, but is really a more hard rocking piece in a lot of ways.    
Where Do We Go from Here
Melodic rock, this leans a bit towards proggy territory. Still, although there is some change here, the formula is starting to wear a bit thin.
We Keep Fighting
There’s a lot of energy and some great vocal arrangements. Beyond that, though this is a bit more of the same.
Find My Way Home
Modern pop rock is the order of the day here, too. This is good, but definitely suffers from the monolithic nature of the disc.
Stand Up
Although some of the guitar on this brings an almost Guns ‘N Roses kind of intensity, this is more of the same beyond that. It’s getting old by this point.
Reach
Here is some of the change we really need. It’s an acoustic guitar based rocker. The vocal arrangement is inventive and the whole thing is just very classy. It’s one of the strongest tunes here. The ending is a bit abrupt and unexpected, though.

 

 
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