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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Various Cruelties

Various Cruelties

Review by Larry Toering

This London based Brit-pop quartet combine that Brit-pop sound with a few other strong elements such as Motown / Stax soul and ska and reggae flavors, to an undeniably awesome result. However, being new to them I had no idea that I had already heard one of their tracks multiple times, so this is an instantly enjoyable record. They’re young, fresh and full of energy and creativity, and my guess is they’re not on idle. Instead, I bet they are headed down the right avenues as they just made their way across the pond to gigs in New York and L.A.

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Track by Track Review

This doesnt waste any time getting the big grooves across to go with their vibrant youthful prowess. The track is epic from beginning to end, with sky rocket hooks and huge vocals.

Great Unknown
This is a very organic tune with a female choir thrown in for a majestic touch that actually makes the song. There is something spooky but charming about this at the same time. It is simply killer!
If It Wasn't For You
It doesnt take long to recognize this from a currently running television commercial, so it was a surprise to hear it this way. Its a perfectly catchy number that you cant get out of your head. This is a great modern indie-pop classic.
Magnetic Field
This one is another excellent track, with a catchy chorus and a very urban attitude. It has a very dreamy atmosphere without ever losing the listener. This is simply another great tune.
Cold As You
If the previous tracks satisfy, then this is guaranteed to please. It contains everything from rockabilly to ska. I would have to say, so far, its the most playful and overall creative track. I like this a lot.
Dry Your Tears
A little break in the middle of the action takes the shape of a more somber tone. It comes along just in time to intrigue the direction, as things do start to change back up. This isnt one of the better tracks but its somehow appropriate.
Beautiful Delirium
This gets back to business and even hits a highlight on the disc in terms of songwriting and performing. Everything they do is all wrapped up in this one track. It contains it all.
She Is The One
The traditional blues wrinkle is included here. This is, for the most part, hit and miss for me, but its a varied risk worth taking. I would have to point out the vocals as the weak spot, almost going into Tom Petty meets ska territory on an otherwise interesting backing track with great guitar and drums.
This is a little more like it. More of a reggae feel naturally takes over and kicks the action back up for another satisfying piece of music.
Thrill Is Gone
The Caribbean influence is maintained on this mellower groovy cut. This time the vocals dominate to a more exceptional degree. These songs all contain more than the average Brit-pop leanings, they go much deeper and more eclectic. They tend to remind me at times of the Police and INXS crossing musical paths somehow.
Neon Truth
The set closes with a brutally honest pleading lyric, the closest they really come to a love song in the bunch. So it tops off a great record very smoothly.
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