Review Round Up #48

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes Scott Kelly's "The Wake," Dirt Mall's "Got The Goat By The Horns," Natasha Borzilova's "Cheap Escape," Farflung's "A Wound In Eternity," and Sirhan Sirhan's "Blood."

The Wake

Scott Kelly
“The Wake”
(Neurot Recordings 2008)

With his deeply gruff vocals keeping a solemn tone as they are accompanied by minimalist acoustic guitar, the songs on Neurosis founder Scott Kelly's EP "The Wake" could almost pass as extras left off of Mark Lanegan's debut "The Winding Sheet." Kelly keeps things utterly understated, filling in the instrumental voids only sparingly for a result that rings with poignancy and shows off that he is clearly more than just a heavy metal musician: he is a musician.

Sounds Like: Acoustic singer/songwriter you don’t want to meet in a dark alley

Key Tracks: "The Searcher"

B+
buy it!
Got The Goat By The Horns

Dirt Mall
“Got The Goat By The Horns”
(Daykamp Records 2007)

From the very beginning, Dirt Mall takes full command on their debut album "Got The Goat By The Horns." With charging riffs and a few hot licks, the tight instrumentation leads the way while the band keeps things relatively laid back with the vocals. While Dirt Mall certainly is not reinventing the wheel, they know what they are doing and they know how to make it sound good.

Sounds Like: New millennium riff rock

Key Tracks: "Hello Los Angeles"

B
buy it!
Cheap Escape

Natasha Borzilova
“Cheap Escape”
(Hadley Music Group 2008)

The former lead singer and acoustic guitarist for Bering Strait, Natasha Borzilova is the last person who should have to prove anything. But while her ability as a singer and songwriter is never in question, "Cheap Escape" does nothing those either of those skills off. Borzilova spends much of the album forcing her voice to do somersaults to syncopated rhythms or flying with a stylized sound. The resulting songs are passable but leave something to be desired.

Sounds Like: Adult contemporary with easy listening and a hint of country

Key Tracks: "October Blue"

C+
buy it!
A Wound In Eternity

Farflung
“A Wound In Eternity”
(MeteorCity Records 2008)

Heavily indebted to the '70s rock of Hawkwind and others, Farflung pay tribute in the best way possible: by making it their own. Occasionally monotone vocals boom like futuristic overlords amidst the spacey echo of buzzing slide guitar and trippy jams that find leisurely find their way. Each track on the band's seventh release delivers as shrill electric guitars make their presence known.

Sounds Like: Psychedelic space rock

Key Tracks: "Endless Drifting Wreck," "Stella Volo"

A-
buy it!
Blood

Sirhan Sirhan
“Blood”
(Anodyne Records 2008)

Sirhan Sirhan clearly must have forgotten to take their medicine. Producer Joby J. Ford of The Bronx captures their seething energy and some of the Les Claypool-style antics that sees a range of personalities, including pirates, embodied in the vocals. The result is that the band's debut full-length release "Blood" flails and thrashes about as it makes good on its name and plays like a Manson family instruction tape, gory and just a little crazy.

Sounds Like: Hardcore meets hard rock

Key Tracks: "All Aboard," "Burn It Down"

B+
buy it!