Review Round Up #5

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes The Agency's "Turn," Kiyoshi Graves' "Chase," "Romeo+Juliet (10th Anniversary Edition)," Daphne Loves Derby's "Good Night, Witness Light," and World Blanket's "aMaybe."

Turn

Agency
“Turn”
(Perch Records 2007)

"Turn," the third album from Southern Florida's The Agency - which includes members of Dashboard Confessional and Seville - is soaring power pop, just as you might expect. The trio manages to keep things engaging with riff-driven melodies and lightly blended vocal harmonies. From the full choruses to the echoing voices that plead "save me" on "Picture," The Agency makes "Turn" into a predictable yet instrumentally tight album that will find favor with many.

Sounds Like: Indie meets emo from members of Dashboard Confessional and Seville

Key Tracks: "Mary Mourn," "Better Than Yesterday"

B+
buy it!
Chase

Kiyoshi Graves
“Chase”
(jd8 Records 2006)

The debut from Kiyoshi Graves introduces the singer/songwriter with his racing melodies and soft ballads. But regardless of which side of himself that he shows, Graves always remains thoughtful and introspective with his lyrics. "Chase" keeps to a strict formula but on the album's final track, "Letter," Graves takes some chances and does something a bit different by going low-key. The result is a strong track that pays off.

Sounds Like: Singer/songwriter pop rock

Key Tracks: "Letter"

B
buy it!

Various Artists
“Romeo + Juliet (10th Anniversary Edition)”
(Capitol Records 2007)

It is difficult to believe it has been ten years since Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo + Juliet" was released. The classic romantic tale clashed with pop culture for a unique rendering, as its soundtrack clearly shows. A characteristically sexy track ("#1 Crush") from Garbage mingles with the bubbling hip-hop ("Pretty Piece Of Flesh") of One Inch Punch (featuring rhymes from Justin Warfield, now of She Wants Revenge) and a quietly confrontational Radiohead ("Talk Show Host"). The special tenth anniversary edition includes five bonus tracks that may only be for serious fans.

Sounds Like: A trip down memory lane, highlighted by artists of the 90s and jewels from the film

Key Tracks: Garbage - "#1 Crush," Des'ree - "Kissing You (Love Theme from Romeo + Juliet)"

B+
buy it!
Good Night, Witness Light

Daphne Loves Derby
“Good Night, Witness Light”
(Outlook Music 2007)

Daphne Loves Derby is back for more and this time they have brought along producer Matt Squire (Panic! At the Disco, Hot Water Music). The Washington state rock band's sophomore release, "Good Night, Witness Light," is heavy on light and familiar melodies to carry you away. When emphasizing bouncy rhythms, the band stays plucky and upbeat with their instrumentation while the ballads take a delicate, pristine-sounding approach that is both dreamy and atmospheric.

Sounds Like: Indie that is less about catchy hooks and more about melodic substance

Key Tracks: "Cue The Sun!," "Love & Mercy"

B+
buy it!
aMaybe

World Blanket
“aMaybe”
(No Applause Records 2006)

Philly quartet World Blanket is a multi-faceted rock band. Not only does violin provide melodies on many, if not all, of the tracks on their debut album, but the band incorporates ingenious rhythms that get away from the typical rock and indie sound. With that said, the production of World Blanket's "aMaybe" lacks some depth, a minor detail that is somewhat made up for with frontman Mike's edgy, and sometimes trying, vocals and the instrumental consistency throughout the album.

Sounds Like: If Gordon Gano fronted Priestbird (the band formerly known as Tarantula AD)

Key Tracks: "aMaybe," "'Til We Die (pt. 3)"

B
buy it!