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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Moors & McCumber

Survival

Review by Gary Hill

I previously reviewed another set from this act. That was a strong album, and this continues that trend. The mix of country music, folk, jazz, pop and much else works well throughout the disc. A couple songs seem to suffer a little from the vocals seeming to high in the mix. It's not enough to really detract, though. This is just an entertaining release.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Lean Into The Light
There is a rather dreamy edge as this opens. It is energetic and proggy. The vocals come in bringing almost a country folk sound with them. The vocals seem too far up in the mix to me, making this almost acapella. The number grows out from there with the instruments coming back up. There is a modern alternative rock meets roots music feeling to it all. This has a good energy and strong hooks. It's a strong starting point.
Better Way
Alternative pop and folk music seem to merge here. Again, the vocals are too loud in the mix as they enter. This has a bit of a moody edge to it. I dig the piano on the track. The vocal harmonies are also noteworthy.
What Would Love Do Now
Starting with piano, the vocals seem to have a better balance on this balladic cut. This does get a little more powered up later, but still remains one of the mellower songs here. There are some country vibes in the vocal performance, and the music gets some jazzy angles at times.
Survival
Alternative pop merges with a modern country pop edge here. This does have some jazz in the mix, too. It's a catchy tune that works quite well. It's one of the highlights, but you tend to expect that of a title track.
I’ve Held On As Long As I Can
More of a mainstream rocker, this is a lot of fun. It has plenty of alternative pop built into it.
Tear Down The Walls
A mellower, more stripped back arrangement serves as the backdrop for the vocals on this tune. The song has an artsy feeling. The percussion, and to some degree the whole musical structure, has an 80s adult contemporary or jazz pop vibe. While this brings some variety, it's not a standout for me.
Sugar In The Blood
Banjo brings some roots music to this. The song has a cool alternative pop vibe, though. The vocal arrangement is one of the best here. Over-layers bring an artistic concept. I'd say that this is one of the pure highlights here. It's dramatic, inventive and so classy.
There’s Always Something
I dig the bouncy, cheery feeling of this cut. It has some pop music elements along with jazz and more. It's another standout.
Out To Sea
This is a moody and artsy piece. There is a real minimalist prog vibe to it. It's another highlight of the set.
The Mess We’re In
There is definitely some country music built into this song. The cut has a great mainstream pop sound, too. This is energetic, catchy and effective. It makes for a strong ending. There is a tasty jazz meets classical instrumental movement at the end of the piece.
 
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