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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Craving Strange

A Life Exceptional

Review by Gary Hill

These guys hail from Amityville, New York. They have an intriguing blend of sounds. It’s not Earth-shattering, but it’s bound to get people excited. There’s a hard edge that at time lands near punk and metal. Yet they also have a real classic rock element. There is also a modern melodic pop rock component. Put that all together and you’ve got Craving Strange. These guys rock. While they might not have created a sound that’s totally unique or originally, they’ve created an album full of songs that complement one another well. With the possible exception of the bonus tracks, everything here seems to work together, feeling like it fits on the same album, but it never feels tired or repetitive. If you like your rock heavy and hook laden, give these guys a try. You’ll likely get hooked.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 3 at

Track by Track Review
Dirty Rock

A killer hard rock groove opens this. It’s modern sounding, but the riff is classic. They drop it way down for the verse. There is some bluesy slide guitar as punctuation at the end of that verse. This is a killer tune reflecting both modern and classic rock sounds.

Your Last Day Alive
A real powerhouse, this one is more pure modern in nature. It’s got a lot more energy and some punky shouting on the chorus. This is definitely a screamer.
Here and Gone
The vocals bring a real soulful groove. The song has a bit of Lenny Kravitz kind of vibe, to a large part because of those vocals. The guitar soloing later, though is more hard rocking and modern in sound. This is another winner on a disc that’s full of them.
A Life Exceptional
The title track is high energy and oozes cool. It’s a killer track that just plain grooves.
Do You Remember
Alternating between harder rocking and mellower sections, this is more of a melodic rock. It’s less metallic than the rest of the stuff here and more based in modern pop rock sounds laced with classic elements. The guitar solo is particularly tasty.
Break the Skin
This one also alternates between mellower and harder rocking movements. I love both the vocal hook and some of the guitar fills on this. It’s more purely modern than some of the other stuff.
More Than Myself
The opening and the choruses on this have a real hard-edged modern sound that’s almost punky. The verses actually make me think a little of Cheap Trick. The combination and contrast is quite effective.
This one rocks out hard, but it’s also a melodic tune. This has some great contrast between mellower and harder edged stuff. It also has some exceptional moments of melody expressed both by the guitar and the vocals.
There is a fast paced, almost punk edge to this rocker. Althoug this is a bit more raw than some of the other stuff, it’s still accessible and very tasty.
Would You Do the Same
Combining a bit of that raw edge with a real modern pop rock accessibility, this is another strong tune on a disc that’s full of them. The mellow, but dramatic section mid-track is one of the coolest moments of the whole disc.
Angeline (Bonus Track)
This is completely different. It’s more of an organic sounding pop rock tune. It seems closer to Hootie and the Blowfish than to anything else here. There are even hints of country music in the mix. This is mellow rock and very classy. They do power it up near the end.
Breathe (Bonus Track)
Although this has more hard rocking moments than the previous number did, it’s another that’s more melodic than the bulk of the set. There are some bits here that are almost progressive rock in my book. The vocal hooks are some of the best of the whole disc. There’s almost a progressive metal element to this song, really.
Your Last Day Alive (Bonus Track)
Punk rock and power-pop merge on this energetic rocker.
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