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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Charley and Jesi

With Love

Review by Gary Hill

There is quite a bit of variety here. Part of that variety is obtained through the use of two different lead singers. Another part comes from the music itself. This is quite an effective pop rock set. Personally, I think it would have been a little stronger as a unit had they moved some of the songs around. As it is, the first part of the album is predictable because it has one song with male lead vocals followed by one with female repeated over and over. It just feels clichéd as it works through. They do fix that problem later, and just a change of song order would have solved it for the whole disc. Still, this is good stuff, either way.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Hurry Up & Take Your Time

In a lot of ways this has a real 1960s rock vibe. Still, it’s modern alternative rock overall. It’s a fun cut with catchy hooks and a lot of energy.

Please
This is a bit slower and mellower, but overall the basic concept isn’t too changed. That said, where male vocals dominated the opener, this is a female voice fronted piece. It’s a good song, but lacks a lot of the energy and accessibility of the opener.
No Reply
There is a real soulful reggae vibe to this tune. The male vocals lead it. It’s a catchy piece and one of the more effective numbers here.
Better Baby
The tradition of alternating male and female vocals every other song continues here. This is more of a straight ahead mellow rocker. I love the guitar solo on this number. It’s not flashy, but it’s tasty.
Better Day
Another mellow rocker, the male voice carries the lead on this. The vocal arrangement on this one is a little tough for me to take. Still, the song has enough charms to make it work pretty well.
Lunar Dream
As predictable, the female vocals drive the tune.  This is one of the highlights of the set. It’s soulful, but also has a real dream pop kind of vibe going. It’s a great tune and one you’ll probably keep coming back to over and over.
Just Wanna Dance
There is less of a lead singer role here. It’s more of a joint effort. The balance between mellower and more rocking works really well here, too. There are parts of this that definitely make me think of Roxy Music, particularly the instrumental section mid-track. There is also some funk in the mix here. This is another standout tune.
I Wanna Go Home
=Another with more of a cooperative vocal arrangement, this is a mellower rocker. I suppose it’s kind of a power ballad with a lot of Americana and other retro sounds in the mix. It’s good, not one of the better cuts here.
Love-In
This fun rocker really feels like something that would have been at home in the 1970s. It makes me think of groups like Crosby Stills and Nash, mostly.
Love Light
With more of a joint vocal delivery, this is another solid rocker, but not really a standout. It has a lot of energy, though. The vocal arrangement, though, doesn’t work as well as it does on some of the others here.
 
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