Review Round Up #47

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes Saudi Arabia's "$200,000," Westran's "3 In The Morning," Télépathique's "Love & Lust," Various Artists' "Parx-e" and Return to Mono's "Involution."

$200,000

Saudi Arabia
“$200,000”
(Self-Released 2008)

With the first glimpse, it almost sounds as though the EP "$200,000" from Saudi Arabia is just a recording of the band's practice sessions. Full of goofy lyrics and instrumentation that occasionally gives way to a reckless side, Saudi Arabia march to the beat of their own drummer. When they do get their act together -- and they do, even if it is, primarily, only for the recording's closing track -- the band show they have just been playing dumb the whole time as careful melodies and vocal harmonies betray an indie rock side. With a more even musical balance, Saudi Arabia could still be silly.

Sounds Like: Silly rock

Key Tracks: "Christian Retreat"

C+
3 In The Morning

Westran
“3 In The Morning”
(B.Shan Records 2008)

There is a very vague hint of country in Westran's sophomore album "3 In The Morning," which puts a spin on alternative adult and their post-grunge influences. But amidst some snarling electric guitar solos and dark melodies, Westran remains too conservative. The album has not a note out of place, but not a note that reaches out and pulls you in. Even when Westran offers a catchy melody he lets the moment passively slip by.

Sounds Like: Smooth adult alternative rock

Key Tracks: "What did I say?"

C+
Love & Lust

Télépathique
“Love & Lust”
(The Control Group 2008)

While Brazilian duo Télépathique are being billed nothing short of their country's electronic saviors, there is a healthy dose of rock in their thick, rugged riffs and dance floor tunes. But it is the continually evolving sound on "Love & Lust" that is part of its great appeal. Whether it is dark and spacey electronics or the low throbbing thump of the bass, Télépathique do not allow themselves to be boxed in on their EP "Love & Lust" or restricted by the confines of the dance floor.

Sounds Like: Edgy electro-rock

Key Tracks: "Love & Lust"

A-
buy it!
Parx-e

Various Artists
“Parx-e”
(Clear Springs Entertainment 2007)

Leave to a compilation from a record label half-way around the globe to pull together independent rock artists that might actually be from your very own backyard. Small world, huh? Aussie label Clear Springs Entertainment's "Parx-e - A Compilation of Independent Music" might lean towards indie alt rock but with these gentle, likable voices singing and swelling with some familiar melodies, it is soft, poppy rock that, even if you are not willing to admit, has some inexplicable appeal.

Sounds Like: Soft alternative rock with pop sensibilities

Key Tracks: Amanda Rogers' "Drive"

B
buy it!
Involution

Return to Mono
“Involution”
(Self-Released 2006)

Full-bodied vocals from Tanya Kelleher that just drip with sultriness are the unquestionable central point of Return to Mono's "Involution" EP. As synthesizers twitch and pulse, creating the instrumental depth to the songs along with bass and guitars, vocals and music come together without either compromising. Return to Mono's "Involution" follows through on its original unspoken promise, but sounds perhaps too much like the old favorites they are influenced by.

Sounds Like: For fans of Portishead, Esthero

Key Tracks: "Losing Faith"

B+
buy it!