Snow Patrol (A&M)
Eyes Open is a majestic collection, a masterful blending of crunching guitars, pulsing rhythms, smart and emotionally resonant lyrics, slow and softer reflections on relationships, and wistful melodies.
Led by Gary Lightbody, Snow Patrol can comfortably crank out high-energy rock and roll. There are powerful, beat-heavy indie stylings with a thumping bass pattern on It s Beginning To Get Me and Headlights on Dark Roads, though the vocal melodies soften the edges and the lyrics are intelligent and ring true.
But this is so much more than another guitar band, as Snow Patrol proves when it drops the gorgeous and slow Chasing Cars, a spectacular love song.
Two other slower songs form the musical and emotional center of the disc. You Could Be Happy and Make This Go On Forever both are about broken relationships, and feature lyrics that are beautiful and sad, evocative vocals, memorable melodies, and lush, potent arrangements. In fact, Make This Go On Forever is a pop/rock classic, thanks to its massed-voice chorus.
The CD closes with The Finish Line which has a somewhat ambient electronica sound. It s a departure from the rest of the disc but works well, showing an interesting facet of the band.
It rounds out an extraordinary disc filled with a magnificent mix of energy and emotion, musical muscle, and lyrical insight. It rocks and it soothes. And everyone should hear it.
BRIDGE OF ART
David Boswell (My Quiet Moon)
Fluid and full of life, this second disc from guitarist David Boswell is a real treat for fans of the smooth-jazz genre. Think of the gracefulness of guitarist Pat Metheny, under whom Boswell has studied, with an uplifting tempo that borrows from other genres. The result is a soothing light-jazz hybrid, a highly listenable disc that almost has a fast-fingered sitar-guitar sound on original music that s both fresh and familiar. Boswell, who wrote all 10 songs and plays a variety of different electric guitars as well as synthesized keyboards, is joined by his brother, John, and a great trio.
Mobb Deep (G-Unit/Interscope)
Curtis 50 Cent Jackson s impact is felt all over this disc by hip-hop veterans Mobb Deep. Of the 16 tracks (including two bonus songs), only seven do not involve a G-Unit-influenced guest appearance. The lead single, Put Em in Their Place, showcases Mobb Deep in familiar territory. Over an aggressive beat, they recite their rhymes with a swagger reminiscent of their earlier work. On In Love With the Moola they profess their love of money, and the soulful track works, thanks to its love letter-inspired format. While Blood Money may alienate some longtime Mobb Deep fans due to the 50 Cent connection, that same influence could help the rappers achieve the sales marks they want.
LITTLE MORE LIVIN
Trent Willmon (Columbia)
This is straightforward country with gusto. The music comes across as genuine throughout, mainly because an honest-to-goodness Texas cowboy is doing the singing. The lyrics are no-nonsense songs of love, relationships, and daydreams.
Trent Willmon shows exceptional writing skills by penning 7 of the 11 songs. He exudes a sort of uncommon power and energy in his country style, not only in his words, but his delivery and the hard-charging background instrumental work. A special treat is his lover s lament, Sometimes I Miss Ya, that avoids the laid-back sort of moaning that is all too common in tunes of broken relationships. A pleasant surprise is his memorable spin with traditional blues on Louisiana Rain.
THAT FACE!, Frank Sinatra, Jr. (Rhino) Supported by smooth, orchestrated arrangements and some superb soloists, Frank Sinatra, Jr., glides through standards plus his own Spice, Barry Manilow s I Was A Fool (To Let You Go), and a duet with Steve Tyrell on Girl Talk. It s suave and timeless music, impeccably performed. R.P.
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL SPECIAL EDITION, Various Artists (Walt Disney) The special edition of the double-platinum High School Musical soundtrack isn t all that special. The first disc offers music from the Disney Channel musical and B5 s hip-hop version of Get cha Head in the Game. The second disc offers karaoke versions of eight of the musical s most popular songs. T.H.
TOGETHER AS ONE, Elan (Interscope) From the loping melody and rhythm of the very first notes, you know this is going to be a reggae treat. With help from Jamaica DJ star Assassin, Elan covers both the traditional sounds and the dance hall styles with a tidy mix of interesting melodies. K.R.