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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Namesake

Borders and Fences

Review by Gary Hill

Taken one song at a time, this is quite a strong release. The problem is, it really all sounds too much the same. Of course, it all sounds like any number of modern rock bands who do really well, so that isn’t really a detriment. These guys seem to have trouble finding a unique sound, but then again the type of music they play seems to be plagued with that problem, so it’s sort of part of the territory. Honestly, these guys do it as well as anyone and if the typical modern pop rock bands who are popular deserve to be stars, so do these guys. They just seem a little generic and monolithic.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Saturday

This is a high energy alternative rock meets pop music cut that’s quite cool. There are a couple cool changes. Overall, this is just catchy pop rock.

Worlds Away

Accessible, yet meaty, the arrangement here is a bit more stripped down. The general theme of pop meets alternative rock is still in place, but this is clearly a different tune. It’s got a good hook to it.

Here I Am

I like this one a lot, particularly on the opening. There are waves of keyboards that bring an almost progressive rock vibe to the table. The rest of the cut is pretty much more of the same, but it still has a unique identity from the rest of the music on the disc.

Look Me Up

Here’s another good tune. By this point, though, it’s all starting to sound the same. There’s not enough variety here and with this kind of somewhat clichéd sound, a little goes a long way. Still, it’s a strong cut, taken by itself. This is certainly a band better taken one track at a time than through a full album.

A Million Good Reasons

The opening of this is different and there are some layers of sound that lend some different flavors. Overall, though, it’s more of the same thing.

The Movement

While this powers out with something that’s pretty much in keeping with the rest of the disc, they drop it down to a mellower mode for the verses. It’s a nice change and works pretty well and the chorus of this cut is amongst the best of the set. In fact, this might be the best track of the whole album, really.

Times of Our Lives

There’s nothing new here, but this has a lot more energy than some of the other music here. That, by itself, makes this one stand out a bit.

Borders & Fences

The title track starts with a bit of space rock. Then it launches out into a jam that’s just quirky enough to stand out from the rest of the music around it. It’s a highlight of the set and worthy of bearing the same title as the album.

In Your Hands

This cut just feels way too generic, both in terms of sound in general and in comparison to the rest of the album. If there’s a track to skip, this is it.

Right Beside You - Honestly

Here they turn things a little mellower on the verses. It serves the cut well to get it to stand out just a bit. It’s still pretty generic and monolithic, but it does have its moments.

Tragically

In some ways this isn’t that different from anything here. That said, it’s got more energy than a lot of this music and has a little more crunch. It’s also heavier at times. All that helps it to stand out from the pack a bit. It is one of the strongest pieces here and that makes it a good choice for closing the set.

 
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