June – If You Speak Any Faster

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If You Speak Any Faster
2005, Victory Records
Rating: 3/5


This four-piece Chicago outfit’s second full-length album is an interesting listen.  Immediately, the first thing that catches your ear is the use of dual vocals and great guitar riffs.  The first song, “Speak Up”, has ‘single’ written all over it.  Totally radio-friendly with catchy hooks and a great chorus.

In fact, this same formula – dual vocals, great guitar riffs, catchy hooks and great choruses – is used throughout the entire album, with successful results.  Just listen to ‘Elevators and Matchmakers’ (with great guitar work by Mark Palacz and some interesting vocal sounds and effects) and ‘I Write B Movies’.  The latter song sounds as if it could have been written in the Seventies, and found on any guitar rock album from that era.

I was totally impressed with this band’s rhythm section – Mark Sutor just wails on the drums and AJ Brown does some interesting things with the bass.  Check out ‘the City’ and you’ll know what I mean.

And be sure to listen to ‘My Side of the Story’ – by far the best song on the album.  A nice acoustic-guitar driven, highly melodic number, with a tip of the hat to ‘the Band’ – containing a strong organ reminiscent of Garth Hudson.  Whether intentional or not, it made this classic rock fan’s ears perk up and take notice.  Great stuff.  Nice to see these guys try some different things on this album.

Music aside, for some reason the CD cover looks a hell of a lot like the album cover for Kiss’ ‘the Elder’.  However, that’s where the comparisons with Kiss end.  These guys sound nothing like Kiss – which is a good thing, because Kiss hasn’t had a radio-friendly hit single in two decades.  What these guys do sound like are a finely-crafted, polished modern rock act.  Although I’m not the biggest modern rock fan, a number of songs on this CD could easily be a radio hit, in my opinion.

Overall, this album is well-produced, and its songs are catchy. This album is worth repeat listens and certainly worth picking up.

1. Speak Up
2. Patrick
3. OK Corral
4. My Side of the Story
5. Elevators Are Matchmakers
6. Scandals and Scoundrels
7. City
8. Invitations
9. I Write B Movies
10. You Had It Coming
11. I’ve Got the Time If You Have the Argument