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CD Review: The Commonwealth

Emerald City Blues (self-released)


On its full-length debut, this Cleveland band shows why it's one of the city's more adventurous acts. It doesn't do anything the easy way. "Loud Pop," for example, starts as a simple, sparse pop tune with falsetto vocals, then turns into a raucous rocker and finally recedes back to something somber. It's a tricky change of pace that the band pulls off with little difficulty. "Tornado Song" is as intricate as the opening track, "Ichabod," is delicate, the latter a soulful number that has elements of the National and Coldplay. "Up Titanic," delivers on the band's reputation as an orchestral pop act and even includes a hint of horns. Meticulously executed and delivered with great attention to detail, all 11 songs have a strong cinematic quality that distinguishes them from standard fare indie rock. — Jeff Niesel


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