Review Round Up #66

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes Public's "...And In The End, Release," Break Mission's "The Prospect EP," Electric Owls' "Magic Show EP," Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears' "Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears" and Vangel's "Biblio EP."

...And In The End, Release

Public
“...And In The End, Release”
(Self-Released 2008)

Toronto's Public may start off their debut release, an EP entitled ""¦And In The End, Release," with a definite garage rock swagger but they finish it off with a softer rock sound of lush melodies. So different are the EP's first two tracks from the final three that it's almost as though Public have become pod people - almost. But Public keeps things lively as they transform their sound from one track to the next.

Sounds Like: Melodic indie rock that's willing to venture into (and out of) the garage

Key Tracks: "Traffic"

B-
The Prospect EP

Break Mission
“The Prospect EP”
(Self-Released 2009)

The Break Mission strikes a pose noticeably similar, albeit less dramatic, to that of Coldplay on their newest release, "The Prospect EP." The Brooklyn trio seems content to stay on the quieter side of the sound spectrum offering little tweaks here and there to the dynamics as gentle melodies stream effortlessly out. But what starts as gentle soon becomes tedious as The Break Mission turn out four variations on the same sound on "The Prospect EP."

Sounds Like: Coldplay-style rock

Key Tracks: "You're So Happy Now"

C+
buy it!
Magic Show EP

Electric Owls
“Magic Show EP”
(Vagrant Records 2008)

Turning his downtime into a creative outlet, The Comas' Andy Herod is now moonlighting as the Electric Owls. The band's debut release, "Magic Show EP," is serious musically, with twinkling melodies, falsetto vocals, the twang of folksy guitar and dreamy sighs. But in terms of his lyrics, Herod's tongue is firmly planted in his cheek - or "Cannibal Superstar" is autobiographical and he's really a cannibal. (Either way, I'm not judging.) "Magic Show" goes down easy and isn't easily forgotten as it ends much too quickly.

Sounds Like: Indie/folk chameleon

Key Tracks: "Darken Me"

A-
buy it!
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
“Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears”
(Lost Highway 2009)

These days, anytime something is labeled "blues" you have to take the classification with a grain of salt; much of today's blues bears little resemblance to greats like Howlin' Wolf or Muddy Waters, among others. But Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears start their self-titled EP off sounding like James Brown, keyboard pounding and horns calling out, before ending amidst noisy reverberating guitar and constant drumming. "Bitch, I Love You" offers a chance for a slow dancing while "Cousin Randy" sees Lewis telling a crazy story over distinctly blues guitar while working in as many bad words as possible.

Sounds Like: Classic blues and soul with a modern twist

Key Tracks: "Bitch, I Love You"

A-
buy it!
Biblio EP

Vangel
“Biblio EP”
(5&1/4 Records/Equinox.Digital 2009)

While that easy listening playing in the waiting room at the doctor's office or in the elevator can be completely mind numbing, don't mix up Canada's Vangel with those Kenny G types. The band's "Biblio EP" is lively and fluid as it jumps around, relying as heavily on the drum rhythms as on the melodies of woodwind, piano and alto saxophone. Vangel also score a few extra style points for their use of floppy drives as sleeves for the CD; now that's recycling!

Sounds Like: Active easy listening/jazz

Key Tracks: "Trew Lub"

B