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Blue Merle
Burning In The Sun
Island Records

I can still remember the first time I heard Coldplay's Parachutes. I thought to myself, "Wow. That English guy is doing his best-damned Dave Matthews impression. Only like all British bands, they've taken it and made it so much better." And then, earlier this year when I heard Blue Merle for the first time, I found myself thinking, "Wow. This American guy is doing his best-damned Chris Martin-singing-Dave Matthews impression." Despite all the stories you may or may not have heard that Blue Merle took their name from a Led Zeppelin song, I'm fairly certain that if you are into harder rocking music, you will be sorely disappointed. However, if you are into amazing college rock-style acoustic music, but find Dave Matthews far too girly and whiny for your tastes, then you are most certainly in luck.

Burning In The Sun takes all the best pieces of the aforementioned identical sounding acts and adds their own unique take on the now familiar sound. The band easily works fiddle into the mix at times, drawing out the Dave Matthews reference a little more clearly. But most importantly, Blue Merle straps on mandolins and other Americana/folk instruments to create some nice, smooth sounding rock music. Will your girlfriend dig it? You bet. Will you get beaten up for listening to it? Probably not. The songs are well written, the arrangements beautifully orchestrated, and the lyrical content stronger than most of what passes for AAA rock these days. "If I Could" is a perfect example of sublime pop music, with lush strings beautifully underpinning classical guitar arpeggios and vocals that seethe with emotion. "Lucky To Know You" will easily make a believer out of any that doubt. The song is made up of jangling guitars and throbbing bass lines set to a perfect drumbeat.

These songs are certain to bring about a summer mood, as most tend to be somewhat light feeling. But do not be easily fooled, the subject matter of the lyrics is often as heavy as any Leonard Cohen song. The music will surely cause toe-tapping and smiles, and is sure to be a hit with anyone who is a fan of either Coldplay or the Dave Matthews Band.

-L. Keane

Track Listing:
1. Burning In The Sun
2. If I Could
3. Lucky To Know You
4. Stay
5. Every Ship Must Sail Away
6. Boxcar Racer
7. Made To Run
8. Seeing Through You
9. Places
10. Part Of Your History
11. Either Way It Goes
12. Bittersweet Memory

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