Review Round Up #51

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes Filter's "Anthems For The Damned," Lucky Day's "Rise & Fall," Under The Black Sails' "Under The Black Sails," Redcast's "The Redcast EP," and National Rifle's "Wage Life."

Anthems For The Damned

Filter
“Anthems For The Damned”
(Pulse Recordings 2008)

With their first full-length release in five years, you would expect Filter's fourth album "Anthems For The Damned" to pack quite a punch. That is partially true. Richard Patrick and his cohorts vary between heavy and hard modern rock and soaring pop rock, all of which they do with extreme precision and careful practice. But with the album's focus set squarely on politics, Patrick opts for recycling the same old metaphors from start to finish as he preaches to the likely converted.

Sounds Like: Alternative rock

Key Tracks: "Soldiers Of Misfortune"

B-
buy it!
Rise & Fall

Lucky Day
“Rise & Fall”
(Self-Released 2008)

Lucky Day is a nice band. And they have a nice singer, Victoria Patchen. Her vocals are joined by nice melodies and nice instrumentation. All in all, it is very nice. But on "Rise & Fall," the band's sophomore full-length, they sit back and think their niceness will get them ahead. But the truth, in fact, is that it does little to help them stand out from the pack that blend country influences into contemporary easy listening or soft rock. Remember, nice guys finish last.

Sounds Like: Pop

Key Tracks: "Second Last"

C+
Under The Black Sails

Under The Black Sails
“Under The Black Sails”
(Self-Released 2008)

Kansas City, Missouri's Under The Black Sails are riff-heavy, quick moving punk rockers with stamping, pounding drums backing them up. The trio's debut EP hits all the standard must have punk markers, such as rage-filled lyrics of personal observation, chanted choruses and chugging instrumentation that cannot and will not stop for anything as the band recklessly speeds along. Under The Black Sails are not reinventing the wheel, they are just taking it for a spin.

Sounds Like: Garage punk rock

Key Tracks: "The Episode"

C
The Redcast EP

Redcast
“The Redcast EP”
(Self-Released 2007)

With their perky and melodic bubblegum pop rock, Portland's Redcast sound like '90s indie rockers who grew a little disenchanted but decided to keep their chins up in the new millennium. Except that Redcast are actually a trio of brothers with the oldest barely in his mid-20s and the youngest not even out of his teens. These modern day Partridges ignore the '60s psychedelica in favor of a more commercial bounce that they deliver believably.

Sounds Like: Clean cut '60s-focused indie rock

Key Tracks: "When You're Falling"

B-
buy it!
Wage Life

National Rifle
“Wage Life”
(Self-Released 2008)

Philadelphia's National Rifle knows that all the little details they sprinkle throughout their sophomore record are what add the flavor. Saxophone squeals, the bright chime of the xylophone, and group sing-alongs all add character on "Wage Life." The band may borrow from influences like Elvis Costello but National Rifle come across sounding far more like raw garage rock on their release with unlikely melodies and muddy guitar riffs stepping out from time to time to drive the action home.

Sounds Like: Spirited garage rock ready to step out

Key Tracks: "Baby Stole My Gun"

B-