Ed Hale - power alt-power pop rock with vocals - "EER-MUSIC.com aka Eclectic Earwig Reviews Music and More for You!"
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Ed Hale And Transcendence
Rise And Shine
2001, TMG Records, TMG-0007
CyberHome(s): http://www.Transcendence.com http://www.EdHale.com/

Rise And Shine by Ed Hale And Transcendence is a straight-ahead rock / pop album that is reminiscent of David Bowie’s vocals and early musical style coupled with 1990s pop / alternative instrumentation with some world music flavorings thrown in just for good measure. This is not a progressive or instrumental album, but is a radio-format pop album who’s target audience I perceive to be radio air-time and not connoisseurs of advanced instrumental exhibitionism (that my reviews normally cover). The style is forged in the tradition of 1990s pop groups with a sound that is similar to many popular alternative and modern rock groups that have received radio airtime in that decade, such as The Wallflowers and REM that are the first to come to my mind because of the integrated sound and the instrumentation utilized.

Having put the album into context so that it is not compared to the virtuoso-laden instrumental music in the progressive and jazz fusion genres (nor should it be compared to these types of works), there are several aspects of this album that I liked. The music is generally positive and upbeat with catchy themes, rhythms, and good vocals… Yes, there it is… I said it… there are vocals in this world that I do like! (You must refer to my other reviews of efforts involving vocals to appreciate this!) So, for vocal-oriented pop / rock, I thought the combination of good vocals with solid pop composition makes this music good enough to receive serious consideration for radio airtime and I think that the album will have a pretty good mainstream appeal.  With the amount of true crap that is being played on the radio these days, it would be nice to hear some music on the radio that employed some good, solid guitar and piano oriented songs with good supporting instrumentation in a context that offers some sort of decent compositional depth and soul-felt lyrics reminiscent of the true visionary pioneers of mainstream rock, such as the Beatles, as well as some good, classic influences from rock, jazz, and classical genres.  The use of different tones on the guitar work is well done with good production, and keeps the album from getting stagnate or from falling into the trap of redundancy in sound, though there is a definite and appealing style across the album that spans many flavors of different pop and world music genres that is impressed on the listener. Redundancy is further avoided by the tactful hooks that occur in abundance rivaling a bassmaster’s Christmas gift set (complete with talking fish! ;~) )

The album opens with “Better Luck Next Time”, a high-energy track that right away lets the listener know what to expect from this album, as well as demonstrating the bands better points, such as their talent for accessible themes backed by fast-moving, catchy rhythms articulated with well-felt (rhythm) guitar playing (similar to “All Along The Watch Tower” with Bowie-ish hooks added to suit… sorry guys, but you’re not gonna put that one by an old dog like me! ;~)… but, cool nonetheless! ) and well-produced tone. “Better Luck Next Time” is definitely worthy of consideration of radio air time for pop / rock format stations. The feel good pop / rock music continues with the hook-based songs that ensue, “Do You Know Who You Are”, “Paris”, and “Love Is You”. With many commercial albums you might find one or two good tracks aimed at the Top 40 and a bunch of other filler tracks that aren’t worth listening. But, Rise And Shine, seems to be a pretty consistent album for the most part, though maybe it tails off some after the first few tracks that seem to be the best of the album destined for the pop charts.  The album gains a second wind in the latter half as it ventures into some diverse world music type styles of pop with the tracks “Ma Petit Naomi” and “So Quero Um Xodo” that is a well-done medley built around the Beatles classic “All You Need Is Love” complete with Portuguese lyrics and a roaming Caribbean flute that binds the medley’s parts together.  Overall, the album probably has more listen-worthy content than many other commercial albums that receive air time and popularity solely for their hit tracks.

Most of the music that I review is progressive and instrumentally-intensive in nature, and commercial music is not really my thing, though I like some of it… (which made my initial response to this album something along the lines of “what the hell is this you’ve given me to review now, John?”, and which allows me an easy out if I didn’t want to review it too!) But, as far as this type of commercial pop / rock goes, Rise And Shine is comparable in quality to the better stuff you might hear on the radio nowadays. The band has a distinguishable character that I am sure will attract a following, probably at least among college and younger audiences, and deservedly so.

~ Christopher Ruel ~ www.ChrisRuel.com ~ Chris@ChrisRuel.com




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