Review Round Up #12

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes Poison's "Poison'd!," 3starkarma's "The Clearing," Melissa Ivey's "Lovers and Stars", Verona Grove's "Verona Grove," and New Loud's "ME(secrets)YOU."

Poison'd!

Poison
“Poison'd!”
(Capitol Records 2007)

While some of their musical peers have opted to create a sideproject, like Camp Freddy, solely for the purpose of playing rock covers, Poison have decided to reunite its original members for their first new recording since 2002's "Hollyweird." But do not get too excited just yet. Part of the problem with "Poison'd!" is the band's choice of songs. From Kiss' "Rock And Roll All Nite" to The Romantics' "What I Like About You," Poison have selected popular and unforgettable songs that put the bar so high as to make it nearly impossible for them to top or even meet the expectations of these songs. While the covers are fun, Poison comes off sounding a bit flat. "Poison'd!" is for serious fans, only.

Sounds Like: Poison covering their favorite rock songs

Key Tracks: "We're An American Band"

C+
buy it!
The Clearing

3starkarma
“The Clearing”
(Self-Released 2006)

"The Clearing" is the first EP from Washington, DC-based band 3starkarma. And what better way to get to know the band than with an EP that includes three of their original tracks? Full and fluid, "The Clearing" delivers pounding hard rock guitar riffs that churn and vocals that soar. 3starkarma stay close to one sound on their EP without boring you with their trio of tracks, offering a hint of a melody peeking out from under the layers of instrumentation.

Sounds Like: The hard rock of Linkin Park, without the electronics or rapping, or Creed

Key Tracks: "You Said"

B
buy it!
Lovers and Stars

Melissa Ivey
“Lovers and Stars”
(Self-Released 2006)

Having already recorded four albums, two of which were live, Melissa Ivey is not exactly a novice of the music scene. On her EP "Lovers and Stars," the soft voiced singer blends pop and rock for a sound that is bright and a bit cutesy, like Sheryl Crow, but Ivey knows how to bring out an edge and show some attitude when necessary.

Sounds Like: Vocal oriented pop rock similar to Sheryl Crow

Key Tracks: "Eye On The Door"

B
buy it!
Verona Grove

Verona Grove
“Verona Grove”
(Pat’s Record Company 2007)

Big, bold and bright, the new self-titled EP from Verona Grove is pure upbeat, feel good fun. Enthusiastic pop punk bounces with abundant energy on half of the four tracks while the band shows off their power ballad skills on the remaining two songs. While it could be easy for Verona Grove to churn out pop punk/rock tunes, their EP maintains a thoughtful and careful approach.

Sounds Like: Energetic pop blend of rock and modern punk for fans of New Found Glory and All-American Rejects

Key Tracks: "No Words To Say"

B+
ME(secrets)YOU

New Loud
“ME(secrets)YOU”
(I Heard You Want To Fight Me Records 2006)

With keyboards blazing, Wisconsin band The New Loud are all about bubbling synth pop on their four song EP "ME(secrets)YOU." But do not underestimate or pigeonhole the new wave influenced band just yet, as they reveal at least one melody, on "Heartattack," that has been kissed by dark pop on the EP. The rest of the songs are delivered with speedy rhythms, some chanting vocals and a fun attitude.

Sounds Like: Thumping and pulsing new wave rock

Key Tracks: "Secrets"

B
buy it!