Alternate Routes
"Over Your Shoulder"

(Self-Released 2004)Alternate Routes - Over Your Shoulder

A quintet from New England, The Alternate Routes are part smooth radio friendly soft rock ballads with nicely balanced vocal harmonies and part guitar-heavy country meets rock sound that is as equally made for radio and audiences. That position shines through on their album "Over Your Shoulder" which flip flops between thoughtful ballads and clean sounding, up tempo rock tunes.

The Alternate Routes sound bright and upbeat on "Time and Again" as guitar harmonics add texture and singer Tim Warren's voice soars through and over the well blended instrumentation. Guitarist Eric Donnelly uses a chunkier guitar riff to add a catchy rhythm to "Blinded by the Radio" as drummer Tim Newton's cymbals crash throughout the song. Meanwhile guitars slide on "Are You Lonely" as the song builds to reveal a foot stomping country rock influence.

"Hollywood" shows a gentle, careful side that is likable as is the equally low key "These Promises" where soft drums add a beat that when paired with piano helps avoid being simply another ballad like the piano lead "The Black and the White." The Alternate Routes show some strength and attitude with "Stuck Man," leaving their previously passive stance for something slightly more aggressive.

On "Over Your Shoulder," The Alternate Routes have things under control and know what they are doing. But the record's extremely polished sound and predictable, familiar melodies help comfort and lure in the listener but also detracts from the band as a whole.

B-

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