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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Joel Ansett

The Nature of Us

Review by Gary Hill

This is basically pop music, if you need a short description. There is a decent range here. For my money, most of this is quite strong, but some of it has a tendency towards feeling “samey.” Each song on its own is pretty good, but the formula wears a bit thin at times.

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Track by Track Review
Kingdom Come

The vocals open this. They feel a bit like jazz and soul mixed together. Eventually some finger popping emerges. Then music starts to rise up in style. Those two things, soul and jazz, merge with some other cool rock and more modern elements. This is a classy tune that’s a great groove.

Already in Love
As you might guess from the title, this is a love song. It’s another great soulful groove. This is more of a modern pop song, too. It’s a great piece of music, though.
Turn to Gold
As good as the first two songs were, this is even better. I absolutely love this. It’s mellower. It’s also more artistic. It’s such a beautiful piece of music start to finish.
My Heart Is Set
More energetic, this is a jazzy romp. It’s still got plenty of modern pop and soul built into it. It’s a strong cut that’s one of the best here.
Covered Up
This one doesn’t work as well for me. The mix of sounds is basically the same. The cut just doesn’t seem as strong.
In the Eye
More of a mellow pop song, this is not bad, but the formula is beginning to wear just a bit thin. I do like the jazzy guitar on this tune, though.
Tragedy Is Not the End

A much mellower cut, this is a bit of variety. It’s a strong piece that’s quite pretty and artistic.

Give Our Hearts Some Weight

Another mellower piece, I like this one a lot, too. The vocal hooks are great, and the jazzy little edge works quite well. It’s a highlight of the set.

The Cycle

Here is a nice bit of variety. There is a smooth kind of dreamy groove to this. It has a rap mid-track, too. It’s one of the stronger pieces here, in part because of the variety.

New York

A balladic cut, this is very much an electronic soulful number. It actually has a lot in common with some of the moodier modern progressive rock. Still, it’s entirely pop music based. It has a soulful edge, too. I like this one a lot. It also represents some variety.

Wonderfully Made

Acoustic guitar based, this lands more in the vein of folk rock. Again, it’s a bit of variety. I just don’t think that it works all that well. It’s okay, but never really grabs me.

Kings & Queens
This piece is more of a pure modern pop song. It’s good, but just doesn’t really stand out. I think that a different song for closer might have been a better choice.
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