Review Round Up #43

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes Davey La's "Rotten In Denmark," Heat From a DeadStar's "The Lighthouse," Steve Means' "Rescue Me," Take Action, Volume 7, and Halcyon High's "To Be Infinite."

Rotten In Denmark

Davey La
“Rotten In Denmark”
(Self-Released 2008)

On his debut release after the breakup of his acclaimed power pop band Ambershades, Davey La is showing he is not a quitter. Weightless, uplifting melodies soar as instrumentation swirls into the mix that is carefully orchestrated while still sounding incredibly fresh. And with The Dandy Warhols' Courtney Taylor in the production chair, you can be sure he is at least partially responsible for those touches of Elton John-style falsetto vocals.

Sounds Like: Elvis Costello style power pop

Key Tracks: "Rotten In Denmark"

B-
The Lighthouse

Heat From a DeadStar
“The Lighthouse”
(Self-Released 2007)

The latest EP from Boston band Heat From a DeadStar tightly packs three edgy instrumentals that lean toward industrial with one dreamy, drawn out tune that blends the ghostly reverberating echo of a bastardized Pink Floyd into the band's sound. Eerie and heavy while remaining intriguing instead of going too dark, Heat From a DeadStar always play to their lighter side. But when they abandon the drama for the trippiness of the non-instrumental "Joan," it is an inexplicable curveball.

Sounds Like: Buzzing, pounding rock instrumentals

Key Tracks: "Elusive Ways"

B-
Rescue Me

Steve Means
“Rescue Me”
(Self-Released 2008)

The debut from Steve Means is polished and well performed as the pop-oriented singer mixes funk based grooves with thoughtful lyrics on "Rescue Me," his debut. But what "Rescue Me" lacks is an overall enthusiasm that takes it from being a collection of songs, most of them soft and dreamy, and makes them stand out from the crowd. Means puts his best foot forward but fails to get beyond the predictable pop sound.

Sounds Like: Pop singer-songwriter with a couple funky grooves

Key Tracks: "Woman Without A Name"

C+
buy it!
Take Action! Volume 7

Various Artists
“Take Action! Volume 7”
(Hopeless/Sub City Records 2008)

For years now the Take Action! brand has been raising awareness (and cold hard cash) for non-profit organization Do Something. Based on motivation alone, Take Action! get a near perfect score. But when you consider that only five percent of the $6.99 price of the 20 track CD, 20 track DVD on volume 7 is donated, you would think donating directly might be a better option. Regardless, Take Action! packs every popular Hot Topic band with edgy hair cuts and tight pants into the CD while the DVD boasts some larger names (how'd High On Fire get in there?).

Sounds Like: Screamo, metalcore, and punk pop for the masses

Key Tracks: Every Time I Die - "We Are Wolf"

C+
buy it!
To Be Infinite

Halcyon High
“To Be Infinite”
(Vibraphone Records 2008)

The debut album from Halcyon High might seem delicate at first, what with the gentle buzz of dreamy melodies spiraling slowly into oblivion, but "To Be Infinite" has a strong and steady spine that while bending is never yielding. Halcyon High tune in then drop out, letting their soft melodies roll like ocean waves before being overtaken by clouds of static for a constant contrast.

Sounds Like: Shoegazing dreampop

Key Tracks: "Iris"

B