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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The Tristones


Review by Gary Hill

This new set is quite strong. It has a lot of retro texture built into it. There is a real blues edge to much of the music here, but that's often combined with funk and other jazz tendencies. The pop edge to it begs comparisons to Steely Dan. Whatever you call this, though, it's a set packed full of strong music. This trio has created a disc that really works well.

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Track by Track Review
Love Avenue
A melodic rocking sound brings this into being. Some hints of roots music come into the mix as the introduction works through. When the vocals join, the cut takes on a modern take on classic pop rock of acts like Steely Dan and America. While there is a real retro element here, there is also a modern edge to it. The tune has a soaring rock movement later that works quite well. This is really a dynamic tour-de-force that serves as an excellent opener. The instrumental section later brings some meaty bluesy guitar soloing over the top of some real classic rock jamming like The Allman Brothers.
First World Problems
With some serious funk and hints of reggae in the mix, this is a completely different type of number. I love the lyrics to this and their references the types of arguments that take place on social media every day. This is all class.
Funk and soul are on display in this classic sounding tune. A love story with a car taking the place of a person in a symbolic way, this has some great lyrics. It's an energetic and fun tune that really is a standout on the disc. Given the competition, that says a lot. There are some almost proggy elements at play at times, and the instrumental section works toward fusion. The whole things grooves in style.
Break Her Down
Bluesy guitar rocking modes start this thing in style. It drops way down after the introduction. Modern alternative rock elements are merged with more of an old school blues rock sound for the more balladic verse. There are some hints of fusion on this number, too. This works through a number of shifts and changes. It has some soaring moments. The guitar solo section on this one also begs comparisons to the Allman Brothers.
I love the hard rocking edge to this thing. The cut is among the most modern sounding things here. It's still packed full of bluesy edge from the killer guitar sounds. This is one of the highlights of the set.
I dig the cool groove of this piece. It has some classy jazzy sound to it. I am not going to discuss the political angle of this, but let's just say that this isn't the kind of thing Donald Trump or his supporters will like from a lyrical point of view. I'm not here to write political commentary, though, but music reviews. This is another tune that makes me think of Steely Dan in some ways. The instrumental section is very classy.
Everybody's Got Their Two Cents
Another retro sounding bluesy rocker, this has some great soulful jamming built into it. I love the keyboard jamming later, and the whole tune is just so classy.
Sick Man
A high energy rocker, this has plenty of funk and fusion in the mix. I can hear some leanings toward progressive rock, too. I love the groove and melodic sounds of this cut. It's a real powerhouse that's another highlight of the disc. The guitar solo is purely on fire.
The slide guitar on this is classy. The tune merges country music elements with blues and more. It's another solid tune, but not as strong as some of the others here. I think that perhaps switching the positions of this one and the number that came before might have made for a stronger closing. Still, this does have some particularly inspired stuff during the instrumental break. Not only that, but the hooks are very catchy. I just think the previous tune was more potent.
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