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Rob Ashley

Premiere. Farewell.

Review by Gary Hill

The mix of sounds here ranges from folk singer/songwriter stuff to punk rock, psychedelia and more. Often one song will encompass more than one musical style. Those looking for well polished stuff will likely want to go somewhere else. This has a rough around the edges, DIY edge to the it. It's an intriguing and rather unique set.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Drugs Didn't Last Forever
The opener begins with some rather intricate acoustic guitar work. The vocals come over the top with a bit of DIY take on classic soft rock elements. I'm reminded of Axl Rose just a bit. There is a cool, echoey, trippy psychedelic excursion later in the track.
Pleather
A sneering vocal with no accompaniment opens this. The cut works out from there with a sound that's part country rock and part punk.
Parlor
This one starts with an acoustic guitar based mellow rocking approach. After the first verse it gets some harder rocking textures added to the mix. This has a bit of punky approach, but also makes me think of Springsteen a bit. There is a real driving energy to the cut.
Two Years To The Day
A mellower cut, this has more of a melodic approach, but the vocals bring that DIY punk edge. I dig the guitar solo on this number. It does get some punky energy brought to the music after that section.
Drinking In My Dreams
There is a dreamy kind of atmospheric vibe to this cut. It's a mellow and rather psychedelic trip. It's one of the most melodic pieces here. It might also be my favorite song on the set.
Smoldering Walls
For some reason this reminds me of Creedence Clearwater Revival musically a bit. It still has that DIY edge to it. I like this, but it's not a standout.
At 21, You're A Rebel
This punk rock based cut gets a parental advisory. It also has one of the tastiest guitar solos of the set.
See My Jumper
The slow riff driven grind that opens this feels a lot like 1960s garage rock. The tune has a nice stripped back rocking vibe. This is one of the best songs here.
Grey
A mellower, dreamy kind of psychedelic element makes up the concept to this song. It feels a bit awkward to me. That, in addition to the general mellow and slow moving nature of the tune, make me question the wisdom of putting it in the closing slot on the set. The fact that it's the least dynamic thing here and has a tendency to overstay its welcome doesn't help, either.
 
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