Review Round Up #21

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes Miles Hunt's "Not An Exit," Pat MacDonald's "Troubadour of Stomp," After The Tragedy's "The Voyage of Reason," Aldo Leopardi's "Aldo Leopardi," and Scott And Aimee's "Sitting in a Tree."

Not An Exit

Miles Hunt
“Not An Exit”
(Fake Chapter Records 2007)

Just listening to Miles Hunt's "Not An Exit" is a tiring job - the Brit rarely ever stops or slows his vocals, instead opting to charge full speed ahead. With the help of Erica Nockalls and Andres Karu, the former frontman for The Wonder Stuff sets the same high energy tone for each track but attacks the songs differently, from melodic pop ("Note To Self") to jaunty jigs ("The Cake") and even thumping '80s ("The Easy Way (Like Californians)").

Sounds Like: Multifaceted vocally driven pop

Key Tracks: "Back On The Charm Offensive"

B
buy it!
Troubadour of Stomp

Pat MacDonald
“Troubadour of Stomp”
(Broken Halo Records 2007)

"And where's the fucking drummer?" Pat MacDonald wonders on "This Band Sucks." An astute observation given that his "Troubadour of Stomp" features no percussion other than his foot stomping. Instead, MacDonald relies on his thick, gritty guitar licks and raw vocals to drive the action of his blues minimalism. But despite the lack of overall instrumentation, the album is full of character, rhythm and pounding tracks.

Sounds Like: Blues inspired singer/songwriter with an edge

Key Tracks: "This Band Sucks"

B+
buy it!
The Voyage of Reason

After The Tragedy
“The Voyage of Reason”
(Self-Released 2007)

It is difficult to make sense of After The Tragedy on their "The Voyage of Reason" EP. With tracks featuring soaring guitar melodies amidst thrashing instrumentation and machine gunning drums, After The Tragedy's high energy sends them on a haphazard course. The result is that the band ends up taking each of the six songs on the EP in a number of confusing directions in a matter of minutes.

Sounds Like: High energy screamo that tries to offer a little something extra

Key Tracks: "The Soul Burns The Body Decays Pt. II"

C
buy it!
Aldo Leopardi

Aldo Leopardi
“Aldo Leopardi”
(Backslash Records 2006)

It is easy to see what Colorado prosthodontist Aldo Leopardi wants to achieve on his debut album. The big instrumentation has dreams of being '80s style hard rock that get stuck in your head with equally big hooks. Unfortunately, the instrumentation has that soft edged elevator music sound while Leopardi's broad vocals are earnest but miss the mark. Only on the acoustic version of "Always Be" does the album show some restraint and depth. For Leopardi, music might be best kept as a hobby.

Sounds Like: Wannabe poppy hard rock

Key Tracks: "Always Be (Acoustic)"

C-
Sitting in a Tree

Scott And Aimee
“Sitting in a Tree”
(Side Tracked Records 2007)

Unwritten Law's Scott Russo and his girlfriend Aimee Allen have risked their relationship by creating a solo album. The notion is romantic, if you envision sweet love tunes but this duo has something else in mind. From a chorus of "Chain smoke, liquor, and coke" on the edgy alt rock of "Good Times" to the soaring anthem of "Not Your Girlfriend," this is not going to be lovable and idealistic. Russo needs to step back from adding unnecessary background vocals and mediocre rapping to just let Allen take control with her Pink meets Gwen Stefani vocals.

Sounds Like: Pop alt rock from pop punk’s newest couple

Key Tracks: "Good Times"

C+