Review Round Up #17

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes Baroness/Unpersons' "A Grey Sigh In A Flower Husk," John Ashfield's "Love Is Blue," Ryan Adams' "Easy Tiger," Reel Big Fish's "Monkeys for Nothin' and the Chimps for Free," and Safe As Houses' "How It Feels To Be Erased."

A Grey Sigh In A Flower Husk

Baroness/Unpersons
“A Grey Sigh In A Flower Husk”
(At A Loss Recordings 2007)

Savannah, Georgia, metal bands unite! "A Grey Sigh In A Flower Husk" sees Savannah's Baroness and Unpersons come together for a six song split. Where Baroness is a somewhat reserved and an instrumentally oriented metal band, Unpersons come out swinging with loose, quick songs. Muddy riffs and unbalanced instrumentation push sounds in and out of the foreground on Baroness' two tracks while Unpersons offer a more emotional experience with pounding riffs and wild, sneering vocals and a touch of punk rock.

Sounds Like: Metal that ranges from loose and raw to hard and heavy

Key Tracks: "Cavite," "Number"

B
buy it!
Love Is Blue

John Ashfield
“Love Is Blue”
(Pop Pop Records 2007)

Inspired by Johnny Mathis' "Love Is Blue," John Ashfield has decided to remake the singer's 1968 album. Backed by a drum machine, Ashfield offers minimalist versions of the songs -- with none over three minutes long. But Ashfield lacks Mathis' strong voice and the album comes across as more of an unusual experiment than a real tribute.

Sounds Like: Short lo-fi covers paying tribute Johnny Mathis

Key Tracks: "Walk On By"

C-
buy it!
Easy Tiger

Ryan Adams
“Easy Tiger”
(Lost Highway 2007)

Ryan Adams' ninth studio album is one of soft country with a subtle pop twist. Hints of bluegrass, traditional country and ballads all come through strongly on "Easy Tiger." While tracks like "Pearls On A String" and "Halloweenhead" are loose, others, such as "Off Broadway" keep things tight with careful melodies. As Adams and The Cardinals, his backing band, gently ramble and find their stride through the songs, they offer up twangy melodies by way of piano, lapsteel and plenty of acoustic guitars. All blended seamlessly together, Adams is true to form.

Sounds Like: Gently rambling country with a pop twist

Key Tracks: "Two"

A-
buy it!
Monkeys for Nothin' and the Chimps for Free

Reel Big Fish
“Monkeys for Nothin' and the Chimps for Free”
(Rock Ridge Music 2007)

Having just been released for a major label contract, Reel Big Fish have returned with "Monkeys for Nothin' and the Chimps for Free," seventeen tracks that are actually rerecorded versions of rejected album demos from the last eight years. Like a mockingbird, Reel Big Fish seem most suited as they slip mimics into their music: from the Twisted Sister "We're Not Gonna Take It" inspired chant on "Everybody's Drunk" to imitating Queen, disco and other popular sounds on "Party Down." But throughout it all, horns and charging guitars lead the poppy punk, ska, and reggae blend.

Sounds Like: Up beat, feel good power pop that dabbles in punk, ska and reggae

Key Tracks: "Why Do All Girls Think They're Fat?"

B-
buy it!
How It Feels To Be Erased

Safe As Houses
“How It Feels To Be Erased”
(Self-Released 2007)

The debut EP from Orange County, New York's Safe As Houses is a full instrumental affair. Guitars pound melodic riffs out on each track as the well mixed music offers a dynamic layered sound. The band offers a little of it all on "How It Feels To Be Erased" as they immediately take charge of things with a flying rock track and then close the EP out with a slow ballad.

Sounds Like: Melodic indie/emo/pop

Key Tracks: "In All Honesty"

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