Open Range Torch Songs
Vol. II (self-released)
Listen to Open Range Torch Songs' Vol. II, and you'll feel like you're taking a trip around the world. The Cleveland band's ability to seamlessly float from one genre to another makes it sound way worldly. Jennifer O'Neal's sharp violin echoes through the opening song, the Latin-flavored "My Kind of Language" (singer Drew Clair even begins his first sentence with a suave "señorita"). "Wall Around My Heart" travels back to the Old West, with O'Neal once again taking center stage. Vol. II ends on a rousing note, with a flurry of bagpipes rushing through "Smooth." Clair's tough and raspy but soothing voice fits perfectly over the mix of acoustic guitars, violin, and harmonica. — Jordan Zirm
31 Hours Til What?
Mission Man means well. He really does. His lyrical musings on 31 Hours Til What? touch on life's most complex and gut-wrenching problems. From losing his mother to cancer to longing for a strong woman who understands him, Mission Man faces his hardships head-on with his rhymes. The only problem is it's all pretty tough to listen to. The beats on this album are a tangled mess, with awkward bass lines and off-key guitar playing mingling with a painfully sharp influx of synthesizers. The background chaos makes it difficult to pay attention to what Mission Man is actually saying. And even when you pick up on the words, his voice sounds muffled and monotone as he struggles to keep up with the cadence of his beats. — Zirm