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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Liz Larin

The Story of O-Miz

Review by Steve Alspach

One tends to feel sorry for people living in Detroit. It's not the most picturesque city around, the economy isn't that good, and don't even mention the Tigers. But the Motor City has a few things going for it. One of them is Liz Larin, a local rocker who has pretty much cornered the market on the local Detroit Music Awards and is looking to branch out. It's a good decision, since "The Story of O-Miz" is well worth checking out. This album is a combination of different musical styles, but Larin knows when to show restraint. She can be Alanis Morrissette without the fist-shaking, or Melissa Etheridge without the heart-on-the-sleeve sentiment. Along with having written all the songs on the album, Larin also plays electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, and programming.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2003 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
No Wires
Prog fans like I am will like this opener (it's in seven!) that features a strong chorus, and Larin's voice alters between 'tude, power, and delicacy.
The Hunger
Larin bares her soul here more than anywhere else on the album, but the song still has a menacing edge to it with a dirty slide guitar solo as well.
Bliss
This 5/4 rocker has a good electric/acoustic balance to it, and Larin's lyrics aim for (and hit) a more poetic stand than most songs.
Pretty Is
Nothing pretty here on this no-nonsense rocker with the hip-hop tinge in the percussion line. Liz takes a pot shot at a woman "in her Jackie O glasses" who still seems to keep a step up on the world around her.
Real
Liz finally slows things down on this moody piece. The verses have a bit of a dark edge, but the chorus, with its power chord structure, shows where Liz gets her redemption.
Surprise
The quarter-note piano chords give this mid-tempo song a Lennon-esque quality of warmth to it. It's one of the quieter arrangements on the album.
Love On Through
A tasty acoustic guitar solo opens this piece, and Larin deftly combines drum programming with minimal electric guitar work, letting the acoustic guitar stand as the anchor.
Mary's Garden
Your head will be bobbing before too long with this number. Robert Tye's solo is simple yet carries enough grit to help "Mary's Garden" pack a punch. Larin's phrasing on the verses is quite well done and really helps carry the song.
Golden Boy
Robert Tye's dobro, along with the slide guitar licks, give this a bit of a swamp-rock, Bonnie Raitt-like feel.
Better, Better
Dave Taylor avoids the snare, letting the toms set the rhythm, and the guitars are rather restrained on this one, as Larin assures us on the chorus that "all the time it's getting better." The end features the same airy, backward-slant guitar lines that Liz had on "Real."
 
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