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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Various Artists

Live Wire On The Sunset Strip

Review by Gary Hill

While this collection is a various artists release, every single song here includes the band Waves_On_Waves. They are just joined by different artists from around the world on various pieces, with two featuring just them. This music is all electronic pop styled music. It has real retro edge throughout. Every song here has its charms. My only problem with this is that I think less would be more. I didn't add up the total exactly, but I did keep a little running tally, estimate. The album runs more than an hour-and-a-half. I just don't think there is enough variety here to keep it effective for that length. It seems that it might work better as two shorter albums. Then again, if you are only going to listen to a couple songs at a time, it's no problem. Everything here is strong, but some things stand taller than others do.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 1. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Arwelone & Waves_On_Waves - Summer '93
There is a retro edge to this cut. The keyboard sounds are great. The vocals make me think of something Don Henley might do. The keyboard textures are very 80s to me. Some saxophone on the number adds to that effect.
Timecop1983 & Waves_On_Waves - On The Run
This number is more dramatic. It's still old-school, but perhaps not as much so as the opener was. This feels more evocative and has a bit of a electro-pop feeling to it.
Marvel 83' & Waves_On_Waves - Runaway
More energetic and almost dance oriented, this has a more modern tone in a lot of ways. I dig the groove and sound this number.
Solar Burst & Waves_On_Waves - White Doves
I love the rich keyboard layers of this piece. The number has a great energy and groove to it. It's packed full of emotion and fire. I'm definitely reminded of a lot of 80s keyboard based music on this.
SilverHawk & Waves_On_Waves - 21st Birthday
There are some great hooks and keyboard sounds on this number. Packed with retro energy and style, this is another winner on a disc full of strong material.
Timecop1983 & Waves_On_Waves - LA Late At Night
A bit more reflective, this really has a great nostalgic feeling to it, but also a modern edge.
Mike Haunted & Waves_On_Waves - Cherry Red
I dig the electronic vintage electro-pop groove of this tune. The song has some great hooks.
EarMake & Waves_On_Waves - Santa Monica Pier
With no real change to the basic concept, this is a catchy and effective number.
Timecop1983 & Waves_On_Waves - The Quiet Life
There are dramatic keyboard textures on this cut. I dig the energy, and the vocal hooks are great. This is one of the more effective slabs of retro electro pop here.
Waves_On_Waves - Drive
I love this cover of the classic tune from The Cars. It's just piano and vocals, and it works so well in this format.
Timecop1983 & Waves_On_Waves - Blue Waves
There is an evocative and balladic vibe to this electro-pop styled piece.
Timecop1983 & Waves_On_Waves - Dangerous
There is a cool electronic energy and groove to this one. I dig the chorus hook on this tune a lot.
Niky Nine & Waves_On_Waves - Mulholland Drive Danger Zone
While I like quite a bit about this tune, and particularly the darker edge to some of it, this doesn't work as well as some of the other for me. It's not a big change, but just doesn't speak to me as much as some of the tunes do.
Waves_On_Waves - Weight Of The World
I dig the tones and moody nature of this quite a bit.
Thomas Barrandon & Waves_On_Waves - A Lifetime
This is perhaps a bit less retro sounding. I'm not as sold on this as I am some of the others. It has a good energy, though.
VileMoral & Waves_On_Waves - Blackout
One of my favorite cuts here, this is more rocking. It has a great energy and fire to it. It represents a little variety and is quite strong at that.
Waves_On_Waves - I Still Remember Loving You
I really love the keyboard melodies and textures here. This is another of my favorites on the album.
Luke Million & Waves_On_Waves - Strange
There is a lush edge to this as it gets started that feels like something from a movie soundtrack. This has a good energy and some solid hooks.
Arwelone & Waves_On_Waves - Blue Lights
While this is a fun groove, it's all becoming a bit too samey by this point. This would stand out better on a shorter album.
SilverHawk & Waves_On_Waves - Dirty Dancing
For some reason this song makes me think of U2 to some degree. Yet the vocals bring an almost country rock texture. While I'm not crazy about this number, it does bring some much needed variety.
Timecop1983 & Waves_On_Waves - Sparks
While this bouncy cut works well, the formula really has worn too thin by this point to really allow this to be appreciated.
 
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