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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Sam Levin

Frame of Mind

Review by Gary Hill

This pop based set is quite effective. That said, it's not without some issues. For one thing, the middle of the set is a bit on the samey side. I suppose these days when most people listen to one song at a time, rather than a whole album, that's not a big deal. Secondly, the first tune is a bit over-produced. Beyond those two things, though, this is quite an entertaining album.
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 3 at
Track by Track Review
Everything's Okay

There is a very playful feeling to this. The music is electronic and has a solid energy. Symphonic elements are built over the top. The vocals are a bit too processed for my tastes, but the song works well despite that fact.

With a duet of male and female vocals, this is more of a folk based cut. It's far more organic, but no less entertaining.
Shades of Pale
Another organic, acoustic guitar driven tune, this is catchy. It's more of a ballad and reminds me of something like John Mayer.
Folky alternative pop is the concept here. It makes a good transition from mellower to more rocking stuff. It's also a lot of fun. In fact, this is one of my favorite pieces of the set.
Frame of Mind
The organ brings a retro texture to the cut. This is another that lands in the folk based modern alternative pop end of the spectrum.
Hide and Seek
There is no big change here. This is just another effective piece of alternative pop music. There are some minor differences in terms of some electronic elements over the top of the mix.
I Sure Hope Not (Again)
The female backing vocals bring something special to this cut. So does the slightly jazz arrangement. This is a standout.
Make My Day
This does represent change. It's a more electronic number with some jazz and R&B built into it. While I appreciate the variety it brings, this is one of the weaker cuts here.
This song is not bad, but the "more of the same" element really wears heavy by this point. Taken by itself, though, it's a good tune.
The guitar melody on this has a lot more expressiveness. The voice driven rhythmic element is a bit on the jazzy side. The overlapping layers of vocals work well, too. Those things all combine to make this a standout song.
As the title suggests, this has a steady tempo. It ticks forward at a good clip. The piano and other keyboards lend something interesting to the number. When it turns out to more of a full on electronic sound, it gets into some rather unique territory. This one is quite effective, really.
Tru Mo
The keyboard textures that start this bring in some definite jazz stylings. A little spoken cheesy bit (some kind of found sound) is odd, but cool. Those are the only vocals on this odd, but fun, little piece.
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