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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Dearling

Silver and Gold

Review by Gary Hill

This new four-song EP is literally a mixed bag. For my money, two of the songs lean a bit toward being too trendy and over-produced. The other two really shine with a real country based magic. I know this act has a full album out, and I don't know if it had a lot of that over-produced music, too, or if this is just something they are experimenting with now. Either way, I think it's a mistake. It seems to be an attempt to appeal to more of the pop music audience, and I feel that it might be at the risk of losing the core audience to which they are more likely to appeal while not really gaining the group of listeners they are seeking. Don't get me wrong, even with those elements, this music is still solid. It is just better without it, and if this is direction they are think about moving into, I'd say it's ill-advised. The truth is, this outfit creates some strong country based music, and should really go with their strengths and not try to jump on the trendy stuff.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
What I Don't Need
The opening on this has some electronics, lending it to seem like this might be some kind of EDM tune. A rocking sound emerges from there, though. This has a country rock vibe on display. The verses seem a bit over-produced and artificial, but the chorus is so strong.
Silver and Gold
A tasty number, this is more of a balladic cut. It feels a lot more organic. There is plenty of country on this. The song is packed full of emotion. I like it a lot more than the opener. It's less trendy and more genuine in texture.
Champion
The mellower opening section of this seems more based in a modern pop sound, but there are still some of the country textures here. This is another that seems a bit over-produced, too. As this gets a bit more energy and vitality, it also starts to feel more "real." I dig the guitar soloing on this a lot.
Real Love
We're in the more genuine sounding zone here. This is more of a mid-tempo country styled tune. It's also one of the most effective pieces here. It's evocative, powerful and so tasty. In fact, I'd say of the four songs here, this is my favorite.
 
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