Sonic Reducer

Simon McCormack
2 min read
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The most recent effort from garage-rockers The Willowz is much crisper and less muddled but still no more catchy than their previous releases. The band’s greatest obstacle to achieving greater notoriety is their songs’ tendency to vanish from the listener’s auditory memory in no time at all. The record sounds less like it was recorded in a well than any of their others, but Richie Follin’s lack of a true singing voice and the band’s inability to write more than a handful of outstanding songs keep the album from reaching greater heights.

The Alternate Routes Good and Reckless and True (Vanguard)

The notion that a band that sounds similar to radio pop-rockers like Maroon 5 and The Goo Goo Dolls can have real depth is pretty hard to swallow. But here it is in the form of The Alternate Routes’ latest release, a record that brings the best out of what has been called “roots rock.” Sweet, solemn and without a hint of superficiality even in its schmaltziest portions, the record offers up acoustic and electric guitar parts that complement rather than dominate one another, and vocal harmonies that are some of the best I’ve heard in a while.

The Friends of Rock-N-Roll The Friends of Rock-N-Roll (Dome City)

The Friends of Rock-N-Roll are just that–three West Coast boys gleefully enamored with the R&B and white-bread rock of the ’60s. Unfortunately, the album goes dry after the first 10 minutes (which isn’t all that bad since the EP is only 15 minutes long). It seems like the band gets a little too carried away with not wanting to sound syrupy and thus all of the tracks lose their focus somewhere along the road. This is an interesting but not all that inspired first effort for a band that shows glimmers of something much more spectacular.

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