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Non-Prog CD Reviews

RedBelt

Beautiful Surround

Review by Gary Hill

The musical concept here is nothing unique or overly original. This is hard rocking, punk based stuff that just works pretty darned well. The only complaint I have is that a little less would have been more. There isn't enough variety here to keep it working well from start to finish. If they had dropped three or four songs from the list it would have made a stronger set. Then again, a lot of people just listen to individual songs these days, so that's only so important really.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Crossed Wires

This is screaming hot. It's part punk rock, part alternative and all cool. I love the meaty crunch on the guitar sound. I also dig the guitar soloing on this.

American Mercy
Suitably there is some Americana built into this thing. It's more of a high energy roots rocker than the opener was. Still it has enough of a punk rock edge to keep it crazed.
Got It Made (I Know, You Know)
Mainstream hard rocking sound with a punk edge, this is catchy stuff.
Shoot It All The Time
The alternative rock vibe on this is classy. There is a bit of country edge to this piece. It makes me think of something Cracker might do in a lot of ways. This is actually one of my favorite tunes here.
Beautiful Surround
In keeping with the title, this has some cool stereo effect at the start. It's another compelling hard rocker with catchy hooks. It's a great rocker.
Sweet Release

High energy hard rock is the order of business here. This cut is one of the most fun things on show.

Cold
The balance between mellower and harder rocking on this works quite well. The cut is more of an alternative rocker with compelling hooks.
30 Seconds
This is not a huge change. It rocks quite well, though. It's a bit more of the hard rock end of the musical spectrum.
Pretty Little Pieces
There is no big change here. This is another solid rocker.
Throw Away
This is a tune with a good balance from harder rocking and mellower. By this point, though, the album seems to have overstayed its welcome because this just doesn't provide enough variety to keep it interesting.
Golden Sidewalks
Now, this has that much needed variety. There is some violin on the cut and it's a hard rocking bit of Americana. It makes me think of the Violent Femmes in a lot of ways. This is arguably the best song of the disc. It's edgy, gritty and just so cool.
Bones
This is a high energy tune that rocks pretty well. It's again back into the "too much like the rest" territory, though.
Hard Light
There are no big musical revelations here, but this is an accessible rocker that's reasonably strong.
 
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