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Vintage Blue

Strike the Mics

Review by Gary Hill

Based mostly on a pop rock sound, this is the kind of thing that should please both fans of modern rock and those whose tastes run more towards classic sounds. It’s a great combination. The album manages to create enough changes and alterations from cut to cut to keep it fresh throughout. This is definitely a winner.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Set You Free

Horns open this and lead the band into a cool groove that’s got a lot of modern rock in the mix along with classic sounds and even some R & B. It’s a fun and soulful cut that’s not that far removed from something like Sister Hazel.

Unchained
Bass opens this and it’s a hard rocking screamer. This is high energy and very cool. While the opener was tasty, this one blows that out of the water. The horns are gone, but there’s some smoking hot blues rock guitar and a powerful vocal performance to replace them.
California Road
Vocals open this tune. It’s a good rocker with the horns back in the mix. It’s less energetic than the previous tune, but it’s got plenty of charm and charisma that makes up for it. The multilayered vocal arrangement is a nice touch.
Speak
This one comes in feeling like a pop rock tune from the 1970s. There’s a killer vintage synthesizer sound at points. If this had been released in 1974 it would have been all over the radio.
Hey Hey
There’s more energy to this one, but it’s another that’s got a lot of retro sounds to its rocking modes. It’s one of the catchiest tunes on show here and is one of the real highlights of the set.
Sleep on This
The horns return here. It’s got a real modern pop rock feeling to it. The lyrics are poignant and the groove is powerful. It’s another strong number. Of course, everything here is strong.
Hear to Say
We’re treated to a serious blues rock jam on this song. It’s got a real roots rock feeling to it in a lot of ways, but blended with modern rock tones.
Just Breathe
This is the most purely melodic tune to this point on the set. There’s still some classic rock in the mix, but it’s really about the modern pop rock sounds. The performance is a powerful one. This is another highlight of the set.
What Lies
There’s a bit of a 1950s rock sound in this melodic and mellower tune. It’s good, but not one of the best pieces here. Of course, I’ve never been a big fan of that 1950s type of sound. That said, this is well immersed in modern pop rock, too.
Help Me See
Here’s another modern pop rock tune. On another disc this might be a highlight, but as strong as everything else is here, it just sort of gets a bit lost in the pack.
Against Time
The same general comments from the last tune can be applied here, too. Still, somehow this one rises a bit higher due to its powerful performance and melodic charms. There’s a noteworthy melodic guitar solo on this tune, too.
Great Divide
An intricate and powerful ballad, this is another highlight of the set. It features some female backing vocals and strings that manage to augment the arrangement without falling into the “over the top” trap. It seems equally split between modern pop rock and classic sounds.
True
With horns back, this has a bouncy and somewhat quirky arrangement. It reminds me a bit of Squeeze, and that’s a good thing. It’s a cool way to end the set. In fact, this is one of the most dynamic arrangements of the album.

 

 

 
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