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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Dry Reef


Review by Gary Hill

If you sat down and listened to this album without any pre-knowledge, you'd probably suspect that this band is based on some tropical island paradise. The truth is that they hail from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that is. While they might be from the East coast of the United States, their sound seems more tied to warmer climates with ocean views. From reggae to other island vibes and surf music, this is good times hot weather music. The disc is considerably effective from start to finish and never really feels tired or redundant. The CD is labeled with "Side A" and "Side B," probably linked to a vinyl version of this set.

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Track by Track Review
Side A
Surf guitar sounds bring this into being. As it works out to the song proper there are some reggae and Island elements added to the mix. The vocals in particular bring those things into being. This is a suitably harmonious piece of music that just feels like good times.
Come Away
Melodic rock is the order of business here. The guitar fills still have hints of that surf rock sound. This is a catchy and fun mid-tempo track that works well. There is just a bit of alternative rock in the mix here, too.
For some reason this cut reminds me of George Benson's "Breezin'" just a little. It's another melodic rocker. It does have some jazz in the mix, perhaps leading to me to feel that Benson connection. It's another classy cut with classic textures.
The Wash
While this isn't a huge change, it has more energy and really rocks. The instrumental section soars into some jam band meets psychedelic territory.
Car Keys
There is a lot of jazz in some parts of this. Psychedelia is also on the menu. Overall, though, this is another mid-tempo bouncy kind of rocking tune. It's another fun one, too, and has some hints of reggae in the mix. The guitar solo on this again makes me think of George Benson.
Side B
Start It Up

Energetic and classy, this might not be a big change, but it's another effective piece of music.

Reggae and smooth jazz merge with alternative rock on this fast paced and catchy piece of music.
Nowhere Fast
With plenty of reggae and island sound in the mix, this is another energetic and good time based track. The guitar soloing is on fire.
I dig the almost jazzy vibe on this cut. It still has plenty of reggae in the mix, too. The fact that the guitar just jams away throughout just about the whole song is something I like a lot, too. That guitar playing really soars to the stars in the final sections of the track.
Another Day
Reggae and island elements merge with almost a melodic progressive rock arrangement on this number. It's such a classy piece of music that is dynamic and particularly effective. While this isn't the most instantly catchy thing here, it might be my favorite track of the disc.
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