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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Lola Rising

Moving Forward

Review by Gary Hill

Lola Rising's new set shows a lot of promise. Taken as a whole, it isn't entirely successful, though. Some of the songs don't have enough variance from others to really stand out. Of course, a lot of people just listen to a song or two rather than a whole album these days. Those songs would work well in that setting because they work well on their own. Still, there are some tunes, most notably the opener and closer, that manage to stand taller than the rest.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
More Music
The horn sound on this brings a jazzy element. The cut has a great groove that is alternative rock based, but with a cool groove. This is a fast-paced cut that has a definite reggae edge to it. It's a strong opener.
Gravity
This has a bit more of a balladic vibe, but only in comparison to the opener. This has a pop rock vibe to it that's classy. Yet, those reggae and jazz elements are still in play, too.
Praying for Red Lights

The reggae and pop rock sounds drive this one, too. It's not a huge change, but the female vocals (present throughout the bulk of the set) take a more prominent role on the tune.

Strands of Oak
While the mix of sounds here is similar to the others, the alternative rock concepts are more in the driving seat position. It provides a bit of variety, but the formula is starting to wear a bit thin by this point. That said, the cool, exploratory jam later manages to elevate this and bring some more pure jazz and even hints of space music into the mix.
1943
This cut is rather catchy, but by this point it's all starting to sound the same. The mix of reggae and alternative rock works well here, however I think the best way to appreciate most of this, the number included, would be to listen to just one song at a time so that it can really shine on its own.
Summer Nights Dream
Now, this one does bring some variety. For one thing, there is a bit of a punky edge to it. Then they really turn it on its head with a tasty little Latin break. This is one that stands out amidst all the others. It's arguably the highlight of the disc. Really the only competition would be the opening "More Music."
 
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