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CD In Review

Samantha Donen
The Fray, How To Save A Life
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The Denver-based, four-piece emo band, The Fray, are climbing the charts with their latest album, How To Save A Life. The piano-driven pop music combines powerful band dynamics that pull you in with gently insistent rhythms. Then all it takes is the beautiful, aching vocals of Issaic Slade to hook you. The title track “How To Save A Life” deals with loss and is based on Slade’s experience as a mentor to a crack-addicted teen. The upbeat “Over My Head,” tackles love in a cable car. Web link: thefray.net.

With a voice as silky as unfiltered sake, the NYC native, anti-folk singer-songwriter Jessie Murphy, shares a slice of life in the Big Apple. The recently released six-track EP, Room Alone, combines Murphy’s lyrical prowess with melodic pop dynamics and guitar-driven grooves. The dirty realities of NYC life really pop out on songs like, “The 93rd St. Home School Handbook” and the observant “Last Car On The Train.” Catchy love songs like “There You Are” and “Watch Me” remind me of Suzanne Vega and Morrissey. Web link: jessiemurphy.com.

Like their name, the four-piece Vancouver pop-punk band, UCHU (Japanese for “in space” or the cosmos), is spacy retro rock with heavy influences of Bowie, The Stooges, the Clash, Cheap Trick, and The Cars. The self-titled album delivers non-stop, heart-crushing guitar lines, hooky keyboards, and thunderous dance-stomping bass and drums throughout. From the adrenaline drip on “Stop” to the orbital sounds of “Space Cowboy,” the catchy lyrics and music hooks of UCHU will launch your listening ears into the new frontier of rock. Web link: myspace.com/uchuband.


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