Review Round Up #20

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes Rotten Cheri's "02," Maniacal Plan's "Casualty of Sound," Ringo Starr's "Photograph: The Very Best Of Ringo Starr," The Montauk Project's "Trees Against Skies," and Data's "Data."

02

Rotten Cheri
“02”
(Self-Released 2006)

Rotten Cheri vocalist Stephanie St. Hilaire is a vague Shirley Manson type. She snarls, she shrieks and she let's you know exactly where you stand with her. Blending punk and pop into that alternative sound, Rotten Cheri's debut album is energetic and optimistic but the band's buoyant dark rock sound is still unpolished while their hooks try just a bit too hard.

Sounds Like: Dark alt rock with a punk attitude

Key Tracks: "Wrong"

C+
buy it!
Casualty of Sound

Maniacal Plan
“Casualty of Sound”
(Dirty Smile Records 2007)

Fans of Staind and Puddle of Mudd may find comfort from Maniacal Plan. While both bands are still gearing up for their new releases, Maniacal Plan is ready and waiting with their more subdued take on the alternative post-grunge sound. The NYC band's debut release "Casualty of Sound" is an instrumentally solid one that offers vocals and guitars that are equally gritty while remaining heavy and slow.

Sounds Like: Subdued post-grunge (think Staind and Puddle of Mudd)

Key Tracks: "Numb"

B+
buy it!
Photograph: The Very Best Of Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr
“Photograph: The Very Best Of Ringo Starr”
(Capitol 2007)

Credit where credit is due, Ringo Starr has been steadily working, releasing solo albums like clockwork since the Beatles' break up and he is even still touring. But once you get past the first handful of tracks on "Photograph: The Very Best Of Ringo Starr," you are in to diehard fans only territory. Half the original tracks are autobiographical about Starr's childhood while "The No-No Song," from 1974, explains to an Island beat why he no longer does drug or boozes. As always, Starr does his thing and never looks back and for that, you have got to respect the guy.

Sounds Like: At 20 tracks, a lengthy β€œbest of” Ringo Starr

Key Tracks: "Photograph," "It Don't Come Easy"

B-
buy it!
Trees Against Skies

Montauk Project
“Trees Against Skies”
(Self-Released 2007)

Chicago trio The Montauk Project show off their use of dynamics on their "Trees Against Skies" EP. Loose guitar rhythms create melodic indie rock tunes that dip and dive, building their volumes and the action up and down. From the introspective instrumental opener "Splish Splash" to the slow buzzing thrash of "East Troy Is A Dead Zone," The Montauk Project work both ends of the spectrum on their EP while still offering similar sounds in the contrasting ideas.

Sounds Like: Understated indie rock with an unconventional hint of the melodic

Key Tracks: "The World's Strongest Man"

B-
Data

Data
“Data”
(Self-Released 2006)

If Bob Dylan made psychedelic music that was infused with pulsing synths and droning stoner rock style guitars, it might sound like Data. French rock trio Data add wailing synths and pumping beats to their sweat-inducing quick-moving rock EP. Buzzing guitars churn things up while rapid thumping rhythms get pulses racing with their energetic beats. Add to that the barely distinguishable vocals and suddenly it is clear - rock is not dead: it just moved to France.

Sounds Like: Rock β€˜n’ roll with a light electronic edge

Key Tracks: "The Empty Spaces," "Need Money"

B+