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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Old New York

Before We Hit the Ground

Review by Gary Hill

If you like alternative rock, you are sure to find something you will enjoy here. This disc puts its two best tracks in the most important slots, first and last, but most everything here is strong. Personally, I think it gets a bit samey, and for that reason would probably benefit by cutting two or three of the songs out of the disc. That said, a lot of people these days just listen to music one song at a time, so perhaps that’s not all that important after all.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Washed Hands

I like the guitar sound that leads this out into being. The cut has a great alternative rock vibe. It’s really not surprising that they both led the set off with this and used it as the first single. It really grabs the listener.

A Place
A bit on the mellower side, this is a melodic alternative rocker. It’s not an enormous change from the opener, but a bit less of a powered up tune.
Hector
If you can imagine combining Radiohead with Jane’s Addiction, you might wind up somewhere in the general vicinity of this cool rocker.
Visiting Hours
There is a nice merging of dreamy alternative rock with Americana on this one. While there is no big change from song to song, by this point, it’s in no danger of feeling monolithic.
Rosemary
A bit more energetic, this is really more of a pure rocker than some of the others here.
Alleyways
There are some hints of root music in here. I like the powered up hook on the cut. It’s a mellower, more melodic one overall. I can hear a lot of REM in the mix here.
Trouble Will Find You
If there’s a song to skip, this is it. For one thing, the vocals just don’t gel all that well on the cut. Secondly, it’s a bit too similar to the rest. The guitar solo is good, but beyond that, this number just doesn’t really do much for me.
Headache
There is more of a punk edge to this cut. It’s not one of my favorites here, but it’s better than the last number. It does earn a parental advisory on the lyrics.
A Habit of Lying
Blending dreamy alternative sounds with a punk element, this has some Americana in the mix, too. It’s a nice bit of variety.
1939
More of a punky rocker, this is an alternative rock tune that works quite well. It’s not extremely high energy, but it has a good amount of crunch.
I’ve Been Told
There is a retro element here provided by the organ. This is accessible, but it’s not really enough of a change to keep it fresh. It tends to suffer a bit from the monolithic nature of a lot of the album.
Near Daylight
They really did pick the two best songs to start and end the album. This is high energy, quirky and very cool. It’s a smoking hot alternative rocker.

 

 
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