Album number seven from Sacramento's finest arrives in a neat package finished off in a bow of luxury silk which glimmers under the moonlight.
The production values allow the music to breathe and thereafter the songs find room to blossom. This is well crafted "old skool" Rock music with an investment of depth lyrically and a cool balance between the ballads and the rockin' tunes. The quintet haven't disgraced themselves with this collection of songs at all with several highlights surfacing on the first few spins.
'Ricochet' contains a groove and an instant chorus whilst the album opener 'MP3' discusses technology and the advancement of formats for our music listening experience. There's a different vibe presented on 'Cross My Heart' which flirts with some subtle honky tonk piano in the mix while more reflective and slower moments can be savoured with 'Other Than Me' and ''Til That Day' and 'Honestly'.
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To highlight how much the songs were complete before entering the studio, there's a bonus track in the shape of 'Burnout To Fade' [Demo Version] available on one of the versions of 'Simplicity'. When comparing this to the album version, there's really very little difference to detect. Their point is instantly proved.
'Burnout To Fade' is another example of their tender side which might show you there's plenty to provoke moments of watery eyes and the need to have tissues close at hand, but thankfully being such a consistent Rock band they have their times when the guitars are cranked.
'Rise And Fall' plods along like an overweight ogre dragging its menacing club along the floor until the chorus injects a little melody and an evident hook. A personal favourite with a tasty guitar riff and some southern flavour complete with outbursts of harmonica arrives at the front door called 'Flip Side!', along with the roaming intent of 'Time Bomb' and the dark groove of 'Break Of Dawn' which all provide variety in the band's Rocking mood.
Since releasing their debut album, 'Mechanical Resonance', in 1986, they haven't released a great deal of new material on their albums. We've received cover versions ('Real To Reel') and acoustic abuse ('Five Man Acoustical Jam'), but albums packed full of new songs isn't as common as you'd expect when you look at the length of their career to date.
Some would say that it's a sign of quality over quantity, and on the basis of what I'm hearing on this fabulous album, I'd say they are right.
Rise And Fall
Cross My Heart
Other Than Me
Break Of Dawn
Burnout To Fade
Life Is A River
'Til That Day