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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Brian Hutson

From Dreams to Screens

Review by Gary Hill

It's probably no surprise to those who read Music Street Journal regularly that I'm not the target audience for modern pop music. I often find it to be lacking. Even more frequently I get annoyed at the over-the-top production and artificial nature of much of the modern version of the music. So, it says a lot that I really enjoyed a lot of this quite a bit. It does have a tendency to get a little samey, but I wonder how many fans of this genre listen to more than a song or two by any artist at one time. Taking these songs individually, rather than as a full album, would definitely negate that.

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Track by Track Review
A laugh starts things here. The cut works out from there to a pop styled number that has some leanings toward the kind of thing Savage Garden used to do. The symphonic stylings on this bring a richness and lush quality. The song is catchy and effective.
All Night Long
This time we get a slower, sultry R&B groove. It's a solid tune, but I prefer the opener to this. I'm sure that's mostly just a matter of preference, though.
One-Sided Love
More energized and upbeat, this track suffers a little from over-production. Still, the hooks and groove are strong enough to overcome that. I also dig the funky drop back part quite a bit.
A ticking clock is part of the rhythmic element to this cut. Some of the vocals are over-processed here, but somehow it works. This cut has an artsy sort of feeling to it. In some ways I'm reminded of the Buggles. This gets into more club house zones later, though. The vocal processing still bugs me at times, but this is one of the most effective pieces here despite that.

Largely rhythmic early, this cut doesn't do a lot for me. It does have some lush powered up moments that lean toward the symphonic, but overall the production seems heavy-handed, and the song just doesn't have enough meat to overcome it. Your mileage may vary, though.

This works better. It's on the mellow side, but has some cool symphonic treatments. This earns a parental advisory on the lyrics. There is a artsy quality to this and a good amount of power.
Fix It
While this has some interesting over layers of sound and a good amount of emotion, the formula is starting to wear a bit thin by this point. This is a song that will work better by itself than it does amidst the rest of the album.
Stay (I Missed You)
I dig the old-school soul groove of this and the guitar sound. Still, this does suffer a little bit from the somewhat monolithic nature of the album by this point.
This Is It (Revisited)
Now, this one works better. I dig the mellow electronic groove on this cut. It's decidedly R&B styled, but it feels more organic. it's also more evocative. It does grow out later to some of the most rocking stuff of the album, too. This is a contender for best track here for me.
You & Me
This is a big change. There is a old-school rock and roll ballad vibe to this, but it's built around symphonic-like sounds. I keep expecting to hear doo wop vocals on this. The guitar solo on this thing is great, too.
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