Guitarist-vocalist Tony Pulizzi has chops, attitude, and heart, but his music is dated, dogmatic, and dull. There's some Steely Dan in "Swing Low," some Kansas in "Be Gone," even touches of Yngwie Malmsteen on "The Great Wall," an instrumental that affirms Cleveland's hunger for heavy metal.
Pulizzi can play fast and complicated, and his voice is penetrating -- occasionally even convincing. "One County" is a nicely utopian, faintly funky tune; "Midwestern Town" an endearing, if opaque, portrayal of the working-class grind. But he's so simplistic: Lyrics such as "The cycle of life will widow his wife/Should this be your life/Could this be your life" beg questions you really shouldn't ask. Pulizzi loves his mama ("Prologue/Mama"), and he's got buddies eager to help spread his vision. But that vision is unbearably treacly, rendering this little more than a calling card that might get Pulizzi sideman gigs.