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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Joshua Ketchmark

Under Plastic Stars

Review by Gary Hill

Sometimes less can be more. I think that if there were maybe two or three less songs on this album it would be stronger. That's because there just isn't enough variety here to make it through this many songs. All that said, though, so many people these days get their music in the form of singles rather than albums. In that context this would be stronger. The music here lands in the neighborhood of singer/songwriter sounds. It's a classy set, just a bit samey at times.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
We Were Everything
Opening on acoustic guitar, this is a folk based balladic piece. It's an intimate glimpse inside a life. It's a memoir in a set of lyrics. It's a classy song.
Every Mystery
A classy number, this has a great atmospheric texture to it. It lands in the singer/songwriter territory, but has an alternative rock meets Americana edge to it.
Let It Rain
More of a rock song, this is still on the mellow end of the spectrum. It's not quite a ballad, but it's not far from it. There are more of both the Americana and alternative rock elements here.
Lucky At Leavin
The strings add something to this cut. There is a definite country music edge here, mixed with the folk and singer/songwriter concepts. The tune is an evocative one that is a standout.
This is set more in that Americana meets alternative rock zone. It's a classy tune, but not a huge change.
Get Out Alive
A real classic rock sound is on the menu here. This isn't a big surprise, but it is one of my favorites here. The organ adds some retro style.
Saturday Night
We're still in more rocking territory here. The singer/songwriter elements really drive this. It's another with some particularly strong lyrics.
Harms Way
I like the acoustic guitar intricacies on this number. It's more of a balladic cut, but it has a healthy helping of the singer/songwriter elements. This is one of the standouts here.
Sweet Surrender
A soft rock styled piece, this is slow and classic in sound. It's just that it's all starting to sound a bit too similar at this point. We could use some variety to let this really stand tall. This is strong enough to deserve it.
An acoustic based piece, there is something really special about this one. It's not a huge change, but it has so much passion and intensity to its mellow arrangement that it really stands tall.
Losing Control
An up-tempo singer/songwriter based cut, this is good, but too similar to the bulk of the music to really stand on its own.
The Great Unknown
Another classy rocker, this is good, but again gets caught a bit in the overused formula trap.
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