Review Round Up #8

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes Unsparing Sea's "EP," Villebillies' "Villebillies," Redshift's "Innocence Breakdown," Beautiful Lunar Landscape's "Alone In This Dark Romantic Night," and Squaretape's "Squaretape EP."

EP

Unsparing Sea
“EP”
(Self-Released 2006)

Somewhere between indie and folk, Unsparing Sea's "EP" can be categorized. With a light sound that maintains the character and roughness that practice usually wears away, the five-song EP from this Ohio band is focused on being understated. Violins and cello, occasionally screeching, join with the rhythms backed up by solid drumming for a result that is loose and unblended.

Sounds Like: Rough, raw and minimal indie folk songs

Key Tracks: "Lightness Of Death," "Life From A Plane"

B
Villebillies

Villebillies
“Villebillies”
(Rhythm and Booze/Universal Motown 2006)

The ten member Villebillies are a lucky group; they avoid sounding just plain silly or laughable on their self-titled debut. But that certainly is not to say that their rap rock album is a success. The Louisville boys focus on an extremely poppy sound with hook-filled choruses as they deliver generally weak rhymes over smooth melodies in Kid Rock meets Outkast style on the clean and overly produced album. Infused with country and Southern rock, both by way of melodies and lyrics, The Villebillies do what they seem to know.

Sounds Like: Wannabe rappers that rely on pop hooks and Southern rock for inspiration

Key Tracks: "Mary"

C
buy it!
Innocence Breakdown

Redshift
“Innocence Breakdown”
(Self-Released 2006)

Someone give Redshift one of those trendy energy drinks. The NYC alt rock band has the potential to make a rocking album but seem to miss the mark with their EP, "Innocence Breakdown." Soft rock melodies and soaring choruses abound on "Innocence Breakdown" but they seem unbalanced. Redshift certainly takes some chances, infusing some simple reggae into the EP's title track, and offers some prospective hooks on each track. With a shot of energy and some tweaking, they just might have something.

Sounds Like: Alternative rock with a penchant for gentle melodies

Key Tracks: "Innocence Breakdown," "A Little Glory"

C+
buy it!
Alone In This Dark Romantic Night

Beautiful Lunar Landscape
“Alone In This Dark Romantic Night”
(Self-Released 2006)

French band Beautiful Lunar Landscape offer a little bit of everything on their EP "Alone In This Dark Romantic Night." Light shoegazer music at first glance, the music often swells from gently resonating chords to a buzzing ambiance of rich instrumentation with a trippy edge. Beautiful Lunar Landscape create the ideal soundtrack for not only their name but also for the album's title, with soft twinkling effects that make you feel as though spaceships are zooming around above you.

Sounds Like: The gentle blending of ambient with shoegazer for a spacey result

Key Tracks: "Alone in this dark romantic night"

A-
Squaretape

Squaretape
“Squaretape”
(Self-Released 2007)

The debut EP from Squaretape is a weird little recording that jumps around between 80s synth driven pop, freeform jazz and rock all while maintaining an upbeat attitude. From the jaunty rock and tambourine banging "Shoshana" to the boundless energy of the wailing synthpop on "The Wall's Gonna Break You Down," Squaretape always seem to find a place to squeeze some falsetto vocals in and harmonize with the melody. When all is said and done, there is just something plain fun about Squaretape.

Sounds Like: A fun loving 80s flashback that draws you in with catchy hooks

Key Tracks: "Shoshana"

B
buy it!