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Non-Prog CD Reviews

James Blonde

Stockton Rhythm

Review by Gary Hill

I reviewed another set from this act in the previous issue of Music Street Journal. Just like that one, this is a very enjoyable release. If you like power pop based sounds that really rock, give this a shot. It's a strong set from start to finish. It's not anything particularly unique or different, but it's very effective. Isn't that what counts, really?

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
Abbey's Gone
I dig the hard rocking guitar sounds that open this number. It has a killer punky edge to it. This probably lands somewhere between new wave and power pop. It's a catchy tune that makes an effective opener. I dig the cool psychedelic garage band groove of the closing instrumental movement.
On the Streets
This seems to come out of a pause at the end of the last number. The guitar sound on this even has a bit of a metal edge. This is more of a raw blues rock tune. It earns a bit of a parental advisory. It's a hot rocker that works very well.
El Dorado
A straight ahead rocker, this has some great hooks, both vocally and instrumentally. It's full of energy and really works particularly well. In fact, as good as the two openers were, this surpasses both of them by a good margin. The tune is one of the highlights of the disc. The first part of the instrumental section on this makes me think of AC/DC a bit. It has a killer guitar solo. Then they drop it to a mellower movement that almost leans toward the prog end of the spectrum. The cut eventually works back out to the song proper from there. This is just so tasty.
Stain
More stripped down in a lot of ways, this is a punky kind of tune that makes me think of acts like Elvis Costello to a large degree. While I like this, it doesn't stand up all the well after the magic of the last number. I do like the early 70s rocking closing section on this. It even makes me think of something like Led Zeppelin a bit. Then it shifts to just the rhythm section, with a bit of guitar at times. The bass actually ends the piece.
Live It Up
An edgy, rocking number, this is another with a healthy helping of power pop built into it. Catchy and straight-ahead, this isn't anything particularly unique, but it works.
New Wave
Another with a real punk rock edge to it, this has plenty of energy and hooks. It's another effective rocker on a disc that's full of them.
Peace
The liner notes say that this song is for John Lennon and Yoko Ono. It's a killer blues rocking number that really works well.  The guitar soloing on this is quite meaty, and the whole thing really rocks. It's one of the highlights of the set.   
Baby Doesn't Think It's Wrong
Garage band sounds are the order of business on this mellower, more mainstream pop rocker. It's packed full of classy hooks and works well.
Out of My Mind
Another punky rocker, this is a classy tune. It's not a huge change, but it's effective. It reminds me quite a bit of The A's.
Stop Wasting Time
Punk and power pop merge on this catchy grind. It's again not anything particularly unique or unheard of (even on this set) but it's just really strong. It's a slower rocker that's a bit stripped back. It has some mean sounding guitar work.
Water from My Eyes
Now, this is a big change. A ballad, this is based on piano and voice. It's quite pretty and evocative. It's also soulful. Beyond that, it's a highlight of the disc. There is an extended silence at the end of this, leading into the bonus track.
All Night Long (Bonus Track)
A punky harder rocking number this is solid. It's a bonus track, so you don't really expect that much, but I have to think that the previous tune would have been a stronger closer. Sure, technically it is the closer, but you are going to hear this last, so this really has that slot. This isn't a bad tune at all. It's catchy and meaty. It just doesn't work as well as "Water from My Eyes" or make as effective a final shot.
 
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