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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Chrissie Romano Band

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Review by Gary Hill

This is one of those albums that might be better taken one song at a time. In order to maintain interest for a whole album, songs need to vary quite a bit. There is some change in tempo and style here, but for the most part the vocal delivery is pretty uniform throughout. What changes there are in tempo are actually somewhat minor, but in the scope of this release, they are made to feel major because they provide so much variety.

There was a time before the 1970s where music was always released as singles and albums were just collections of those singles. This seems to be a call-back to that time, and with the current era of people just listening to a song or two, that makes it very relevant.

I would say that some of the monolithic nature of this could be negated if the order of the songs had been juggled around a bit. Three of the most similar songs are bunched together at the beginning. Had they been moved around a little, this would flow better. If you like mainstream pop rock with definite nods to country and jazz, this is something you should make some time for spinning. I'd just take it in small batches, though. I think it works much better that way.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
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A melodic rock groove opens this cut. The vocals join bringing a pop rock feeling with some hints of country and adult contemporary music. I can make out some hints of jazz in the mix, too.
What About Her?

While the opener was far from a real rocker, this is more of a ballad. It has a lot of the same leanings as the previous cut did. This is a mainstream tune that works well. It does build upward into a more powerful and rocking treatment of itself as it starts to rock out. This really does have a lot of jazz in the mix.

Stay
A mid-tempo piece, this is another solid number, but it's not all that different from anything we've heard to this point. It doesn't manage to really stand out as unique.
Dance Outside
Now the acoustic guitar textures that open this bring a bit of a needed variety. The rocking, retro tinged arrangement of the tune add to that effect. This is one of the highlights of the set to a large degree because of the change it brings. The tempo is a bit faster and this tune works particularly well. The hooks are among the catchiest on the set, too.
Bittersweet and Unkind
There is a bit of a folk rock edge to this. I can even hear some hints of folk prog here. This is another bit of variety. It's also another standout.
Grow Old
This number takes us back into the middle of the road, rather formulaic territory of the first part of the set. It's not a bad song, but it just feels like we've heard it all before.
Broke Mine
Much slower and mellower, this has a lot of country and blues in the mix. It's another example of needed variety. It's also one of the highlights here. I dig the cool guitar soloing section and the almost fusion edge it brings.
Morgan's Song
Even slower and mellower, there is a real jazz vibe here, particularly coming from the bass. This is more of the change we so need at other points of the set. It is also one of the strongest tunes here.
Romeo
The energy and vibe on this cut is fun. There is some whistling added for good measure mid-track. This is not a huge change, but it is very entertaining with some great hooks.
 
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