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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Happy Freuds

Echo of Sounds

Review by Gary Hill

This release is quite strong. It's overall based in a riff-driven hard rocking sound. It has as much in common with the blues rock of the 1970s as it does with more modern elements, but there is also an alternative rock edge to this. There are also moments that call to mind punk rock. It has folk rock in the mix at times, too. All in all, this is a dynamic set that works well from start to finish. While the sound is familiar, it's also fresh and unique.

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Track by Track Review
This comes in with a cool riff driven jam. As the band powers it up from there, it has a bit of a punky edge. I can make out hints of both AC/DC and Cheap Trick on the instrumental arrangement. The vocals come in spoken to drive things forward with style. The vocals turn toward more sung/screamed after the first verse. It has a real alternative rock vibe at that point. The verses are spoken, while the choruses are sung as this evolves. I dig the cool no-frills rocking vibe on the short instrumental movement that precedes the final chorus.
Allman’s Big Feet
Clean guitar leads things out here. The cut works out from there as other instruments join. The band say that they were shooting for a sound that was sort of mélange of The Allman Brothers and Little Feat. While I don't think they managed that, they created a cool melodic rocking groove in the process. There is some funk built into this thing, and it's a great contrast to the opening number. The cut gets into more screaming hot territory further down this musical road, ending with something that's just a bit punky.
The Mountain
I love the Led Zeppelin-like guitar riff that opens this. As the cut screams out from there it has a real 1970s feel to it. It drops down for the vocals, making me think of Cream just a bit. As it powers back upward that comparison is even more valid. This powerhouse has some funk built into it. It's also a highlight of the set. This is just strong hard rocking music.
Background Noise.
Apparently this number is a cover, but I've not heard the original. Mellower and quite melodic acoustic guitar textures open this. The track moves out from with a lot of style and charm. This has a cool almost Lou Reed-like charm to it. The tune lands closest to a folk-informed rock style. This cut creates a good balance between the mellower modes and more rocking ones. While this is a good tune, I prefer the sound of the tunes that preceded it to this one.
In Black

Coming in a bit tentatively, this works forward in cool alternative rock style for the first vocal bit. Then explodes out into some seriously rocking fury. It drops back to a mellower movement that's drenched in fuzzy, echoing guitar. That part makes me think of Neil Young and Crazy Horse to some large degree. As the cut powers back out into the song proper it seems to have gained intensity. This fires out from there into a frantic jam that gives way to a section that's literally screaming.

To Blue
A mellower, balladic style brings this number into being. It gradually builds out from there. As the vocals join in the cut feels a bit like a singer/songwriter kind of thing. For some reason this makes me think of the more melodic side of Jane's Addiction.
A real powerhouse jam, this is fast paced and rocking. It has some spoken vocals along with sung ones. It also has a drop back to a more melodic, almost prog rock movement. This is one of my favorites of the set. It has a great dynamic range and is just so compelling. The guitar solo section is so tasty. Some of the lyrics on this cut are in Spanish.
Song X
There is a bit of a punky punch to the riff that leads this thing out of the gate. The cut drives forward in style, shifting to something that has an alternative rock meets classic mode. This is driving and quite cool, but not really a highlight of the set.
Low are the Punches

Another cover song, again I've not heard the original. There is a real folk rock element to this. It's built on some intricate acoustic work. I prefer this one to the other cover, by a long shot. The piece gets more rocking, but never sheds the folk rock sound. It's definitely a highlight of the disc.

As this rises up it makes me think of the song "Angie" by the Rolling Stones just a bit. As the vocals join, that comparison ceases to have a lot of relevance. The tune works out as another mellower, balladic cut. It's also quite evocative and effective. I love the slow, bluesy guitar solo on this. While the cut remains mellower than some of the rest here, it still manages to power up a bit.
Rockin’ and Stumblin’

This cool closing instrumental is built on some smoking hot riffing. It shifts and changes, speeding up and slowing down. I'm reminded a bit of some of Rush's instrumentals. This thing just oozes cool.



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