Review Round Up #32

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes Mr. Steve & Miss Katie's "Are You Ready? Here We Go!," Switches' "We Are Switches," Johnny Bennett's "Red Light Room," Kindness Kind's "A Novel," and Dear & Departed's "Something Quite Peculiar."

Are You Ready? Here We Go!

Mr. Steve & Miss Katie
“Are You Ready? Here We Go!”
(Fake Chapter Records 2007)

Green To Think frontman Steve Piperno is doing it all for the kids. Using his musical talents Piperno - sorry, make that Mr. Steve - teams up with his fiancΓ©e, Katie Burtnick (Miss Katie) to create a children's album. "Are You Ready? Here We Go!" focuses on teaching lessons through light tunes and plenty of repetition. The duo stick to the standards though, in terms of style and substance, instead of doing a cooler, hipper kids album that will appeal to the young without irritating the old(er). Now how about making a please and thank you song for adults?

Sounds Like: Light and fluffy kids tunes with a message

Key Tracks: "I'm Not Afraid of the Dark"

B-
buy it!
We Are Switches

Switches
“We Are Switches”
(Interscope Records 2007)

If the Switches plan to make their debut album, which was released last spring in the band's native UK and is scheduled to be released here across the pond in early '08, as energetic as "We Are Switches," an introductory EP, then listeners might just need some downers when everything is said and done. With a guitar-driven indie rock sound, Switches lay down bouncing, vibrant rhythms that draw you in with their catchy appeal and hints of classic rock influences. Granted there is a lot happening on "We Are Switches" but the band tread the line carefully.

Sounds Like: Guitar-driven indie rock for fans of The Fratellis and The Strokes

Key Tracks: "Lay Down the Law"

B
Red Light Room

Johnny Bennett
“Red Light Room”
(Self-Released 2007)

With a blending of jazz and pop rock, Johnny Bennett really lets loose on his EP "Red Light Room." An experienced singer/songwriter, Bennett keeps things interesting on "Red Light Room" by way of guitar and piano jamming and riffing together in musical harmony. Only problem is all that free flowing and upbeat instrumentation seems almost out of control as it overwhelms Bennett's vocals. Sure "Red Light Room" is sleek and decently performed but little of the EP is memorable or massively appealing.

Sounds Like: Singer/songwriter with a pop meets rock and a twist of jazz sound

Key Tracks: "Chance Meeting"

C
buy it!
A Novel

Kindness Kind
“A Novel”
(Self-Released 2007)

On The Kindness Kind's "A Novel," lush vocals bridge the gap between the band's sprawling atmospheric tunes, percolating with pulses and samples, and their upbeat indie rock songs which match guitars with piano. Like a good book, "A Novel" remains lively and engaging. The Kindness Kind manages to keep things interesting throughout amidst dreamy melodies that are both delicate and lithe. What at first appearances might seem like indecisiveness comes to an understated and appealing fruition.

Sounds Like: If The Strokes were fronted by a woman and dabbled in ambient

Key Tracks: "The Rain Came Late"

B
buy it!
Something Quite Peculiar

Dear & Departed
“Something Quite Peculiar”
(Science 2007)

Perhaps naming your album "Something Quite Peculiar" was not such a good idea in retrospect. The Dear & Departed's debut full-length is an ambitious one that is an intricate collection of many small pieces. Their combinations include electronica borrowed straight out of the 1980s matched with tight rhythms that pound in the background of each song. When all of these pieces are put together, sometimes the fit is a bit snug. Yet the song by song variation on "Something Quite Peculiar" is limited as the band seems focused on trying to fulfill their vision.

Sounds Like: AFI, the next generation

Key Tracks: "Masquerade"

C
buy it!