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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Sammy Strittmatter

Get out of the City

Review by Gary Hill

This new set should appeal to fans of the modern school of electronically based alternative rock styled pop music. The bulk of the set lands in that general style. There are some pieces that are different, though. The trouble is, they tend to be too few and not well enough placed to keep this disc from getting a bit samey. Additionally, the album has 17 tracks (three of which are not listed in the liner notes) and weighs in at almost an hour and 15 minutes of music. This is an instance where less would have probably been better. That's because nothing here is weak, but it does have a tendency toward becoming monolithic, and cutting it a bit shorter would have gone a long way toward alleviating that problem.

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Track by Track Review
All I Hear is Go
I really dig the sound of the guitar fills on this piece. The whole tune has a modern tone, but it's set amidst classic elements like surf music, Americana and even some new wave music. This is slow moving, moody and very compelling.
We Are the Evening Tide
Some ukulele opens this cut. The track has a real folk meets alternative vibe. It's pop oriented and energized, too.
Indigo Bunting
Percussion with the occasional piano chord opens this. The vocals come in over the top of this backdrop. As it works out from there into a bouncy kind of number it makes me think of early Beatles quite a bit. this has such a classic sound, and it works so well. There is some harmonica on this later.
Get out of the City
Psychedelia and folk rock seem to merge on this number. It starts slow and stripped down, but builds outward later as it continues.          
I Pray for You
There is very much an old school vibe to this piece. It is very much a roots music kind of thing. The vocals are the biggest selling factor on the tune.
I Feel Fine
Another that seems tied to an earlier era, this has a mellow folk pop styling built into it. It feels like something that would have been at home in the 1960s. There is even a bit of a dreamy psychedelic edge to it.
Casting Yellow
A bit of sound effects start this. Piano rises up in a bouncy kind of vibe, and the tune moves forward in a mid-paced pop styled sound. Mid-track this drifts to some electronic stuff that's very prog-oriented. The piece continues to evolve from there, making it back to song-structured stuff as it continues.
Blind to Blue
Electronic and a bit moody, this is another intriguing piece. The faster paced section on this has some very proggy tendencies. In fact, the extended instrumental segment at the end is very prog-like. I dig the piano on the outro.
Dark Moon Daunting
Percussion starts this, and piano rises up from there. This isn't a big change from the previous one, landing pretty thoroughly in the midst of electronic pop styled sounds.
When She Sleeps
The acoustic guitar that drives a lot of this brings more of a folk music edge to the piece. The vocal arrangement on this is really among the best. The whole tune seems packed with magic.
I dig the pop energy and vibe of this cut. There is a lot of magic here. The keyboards bring some intriguing textures and the vocals deliver in style.
The opening section on this is a keyboard solo movement that has some particularly effective piano work. It really weaves some great melodies. The piece works from there into a more symphonically based bit of spacey sound. This instrumental is definitely a prog rock based thing, and a nice change of pace.
My Sugar Regret
Harmonica starts this piece. It works through the introduction before shifting toward a mellow, stripped back electronic section for the first vocals. This is very sedate and moody. Although this eventually powers up a bit and works better then, the main section of this cut isn't all that effective as far as I'm concerned. It's just a bit lackluster and seems to go on a bit too long.
This is another proggy instrumental with some pretty electronic elements driving it.
Unlisted Track 1
The first track not listed on the disc, this is based on acoustic guitar. It's more of a folk cut and a pretty effective number. It gets more potent and symphonic with electronic elements at play further down the road.
Unlisted Track 2
This cut is more of the type of electronically based pop rock that makes up the bulk of the album.
Unlisted Track 3
With a lot of acoustic guitar built into it, this is a folk styled song that's quite effective. It grows out to more of the modern moody alternative rock styled pop sound that was the mainstay of this set.


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