Review Round Up #11

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes Lava Province's "Strangeway," The Unbearables' "Just One Bite," Kinky's "Reina," The Nein's "Luxury" and Holmes' "Holmes."

Strangeway

Lava Province
“Strangeway”
(Permanent Wink Records 2006)

The solo project of Laurens Vernot, The Lava Province focuses on 70s rock. With edgy guitar riffs contrasting the light vocal melodies, "Strangeway" feels familiar but also vague and distant, separating the listener from the music. By the end of "Strangeway," Lava Province sound like little more than a typical wedding band with their blended vocal harmonies and sentimental "April & October" and bouncy "California Dream."

Sounds Like: 70s inspired soft pop rock

Key Tracks: "Never Learned"

C+
buy it!
Just One Bite

Unbearables
“Just One Bite”
(Stem and Leaf Records 2006)

It is not often that concept albums deliver everything they promise. But a concept album of a zombie rock opera? Count me in. Although it is difficult to envision zombies -unless this is a tribute to the British invasion band (which it is not) - dancing to The Unbearables' bouncy garage rock, "Just One Bite" is clever, catchy and entertaining. With an early 60s style pop rock sound, The Unbearables take some chances and pull no punches as they explore a big, bright sound complete with keyboard solos and driving guitar riffs.

Sounds Like: a 60s inspired rock ā€˜nā€™ roll opera dedicated to zombies

Key Tracks: "Zombies, Unite!," "Hey, man"¦"

A-
buy it!
Reina

Kinky
“Reina”
(Nettwerk Records 2006)

The third album from Mexico/Southern California-based Kinky is a pulsing, sweating, fast moving one. Heavy on the electronics, "Reina" is full of rapid rhythms that wastes no time in quickly pulling listeners in. With about half the album in Spanish, Kinky offer something for both English and Spanish speaking listeners. And for everyone else, those vibrant, often over the top electronica songs, melded with rock, a dash of hip hop and a touch of accordion, to keep things interesting, will undoubtedly do all the talking.

Sounds Like: Pulsing electronic with a Latin American flavor

Key Tracks: "Sister Twisted"

B
buy it!
Luxury

Nein
“Luxury”
(Sonic Unyon Recording Company 2007)

The Nein could have played it safe on "Luxury," the band's sophomore release. Instead, they decided to take some chances. The Nein's mild indie rock vocals are layered amidst a sea of rough samples, buzzing guitar riffs and stamping rhythms. The result is that "Luxury" keeps you guessing and engaged with its textured and busy sounds that accent the entire album and its rough urban landscape.

Sounds Like: Experimental, textured indie rock

Key Tracks: "Ennio"

A-
buy it!
Holmes

Holmes
“Holmes”
(Self-Released 2007)

Under the pseudonym of Holmes, singer/songwriter Roy Shakked is ready to get things shaking. Previewing his full-length by way of a five track long self-titled EP, Holmes offers an upbeat sound that is bright and clean. The result is songs with fluid but careful melodies. Not to mention that Holmes' songs are driven by a groove and a beat that offers an uplifting feeling.

Sounds Like: Gently, soft rock with fluid melodies

Key Tracks: "Nevermind"

B-