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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Mark Peters and The Dark Band

Sum of All Parts

Review by Gary Hill

This four-track EP lands pretty firmly in an alternative pop rock approach. It's built around a singer/songwriter vibe. It reminds me a lot of times of Cat Stevens. In fact, there is really only one song here where I don't hear that. If this were longer, it would need some more variety, but as just four songs, it works well in this configuration.

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Track by Track Review
Sum of All Parts
The opening section on this has a real blues vibe to it. It works out to a balladic approach from there. As build it forward, it reminds me a bit of Cat Stevens. It rocks out more with an almost punk retro rock edge as it continues, but the mellower segment returns as counterpoint to that rocking section.
Failure Is My Friend
This number stays more on the mellower end of the spectrum. It has a good deal of energy and an almost fusion vibe in some ways. It is probably best described as alternative pop rock, though. There are some killer textures in the intriguing arrangement on this number.
Bone Dry
More of a rocker, this tune is a cool one. It has a lot of that alternative pop element, but is more tied to that Cat Stevens kind of sound I heard on the first cut. While many people hate it in general, I am often a fan of hearing fingers moving along the guitar strings, but it gets a little excessive and distracting on this tune. That said, this cut is very dynamic and complex. The mellower dropped back movement lends a different texture. This is the strongest cut here. It almost fits under progressive rock at times. I just wish it had a bit less of the string noise.
Highs And Lows
A mellow blues rock guitar sound starts this. The cut works to a balladic approach. Again, Cat Stevens is a valid reference point here. The number is more of a power-ballad in some ways. It's another highlight. There is a killer, melodic, clean guitar solo section on this piece. There is also a distorted, full on electric guitar part on the closing movement.
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