Sons of Sylvia: Revelation

RIYL: Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Rascal Flatts

Don’t blame brother trio Sons of Sylvia if they are a bit pigeon-holed into the country music genre, because that’s not what they are. Sure, the band won a talent competition that led to a deal with 19 Recordings, and one of the band members was a backup singer in Carrie Underwood’s band, but their debut, Revelation, is no more country than Bon Jovi or Bret Michaels. Oh wait….yeah, there is much crossover these days. Let’s just say this is a rock album with moments of twang and leave it at that. And as debut albums go, this is a pretty strong set. The trio is led by singer Ashley Clark and the trio writes together with the help of folks like OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, who happens to be their cousin. And while Ashley has a strong voice, one of the drawbacks is that he tries too hard to show it off. The album opens with “John Wayne,” and this is the country rock song Bon Jovi couldn’t seem to write, but with too many vocal acrobatics a la Adam Lambert. But it’s a good one, as are most of the tracks on here. “Love Left to Lose” is a powerful gang-vocal anthem, “50 Ways” could find its way onto an Aerosmith album, and the current single, “I’ll Know You,” is pure pop power ballad. But the best track of all is “Song of Solomon,” a slowly building gem in which the vocal acrobatics are more appropriate. All in all this is a solid debut and this is a band that could have an extremely bright future. (19 Recordings/Interscope)

Sons of Sylvia MySpace Page


Rivers Cuomo: Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo

Someone in a popular men’s print magazine recently said something horrible about the latest Weezer album, something to the effect of, “If Rivers Cuomo burned down a hospital, it wouldn’t be the worst thing he did in 2008.” As harsh as that may sound, that critic probably hadn’t heard Cuomo’s latest batch of home recordings, sharply titled Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo. Cuomo is one of those songwriters that you might call prolific, and he’s been known to literally use computer formulas to create those songs. The problem is that whatever formulas he’s using are not very good, and if his “best” stuff is being released on the Weezer albums, why would anyone want to hear this schlock? Okay, it’s not all schlock – tracks like “I Was Scared” and “My Brain Is Working Overtime” sound like classic Weezer. But that’s two tracks out of 19. Everything else ranges from bad to downright painful, especially “Please Remember” and “Can’t Stop Partying,” on which Cuomo’s raw, pitchy vocals effectively marry nails and chalkboard. And he sounds like a whiny emo kid from 1999 on “My Day is Coming.” So before we all start hating Weezer, whether we were fans of the band before, let’s hope Mr. Cuomo goes on a long vacation, or does something else newsworthy so we can forget about these awful home recordings. He doesn’t have to burn down a hospital, but robbing a hot dog cart wouldn’t be a bad idea. (DGC Records/Interscope)

Rivers Cuomo MySpace Page


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