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The Actual
In Stitches
New West Records
www.theactualsounds.com


A theme is meant to tie together a handful of songs and make them an album. Well with The Actual's newest album, there's definitely a common thread throughout it, but I'm not sure it really ties it together.

In Stiches has 13 songs that range everywhere from pop-punk to rock to indie and everything in between. The common thread in these songs is a quick drum beat; it seems to be featured in practically every song, yet used a different way each time. In "The Pride Of The Echelon" the quick drum goes with a quick guitar and emotional lyrics for a sound perfect for the early 90's version of "punk." "September Had A Trigger Finger" takes that drum and mixes in a rock-esque guitar - very high and perfected by those Beach Boys - with a deeper voice from Max. This song reminds of the sound of the band Sugarcult, as found on their most recent album Lights Out. When we go to "If You See Her", the drums keep their tempo yet put a little more emphasis on a new instrument that's just ever-so prevalent in the background: a tambourine. The lyrics turn happy-go-lucky and obviously about a girl. That tambourine seems to stick around for "Needle Park" set with some electronic keys and our favorite drums. With a darker tone I feel perhaps some newer Kings Of Leon influence was brought in on this one. Taking us back to late 80s or early 90s again with "Dancing On The Perimeter", the drums hook up this time with some passionate vocals and a synthesizer and pass off their quickness to the lead guitar. I can definitely see this song in a classic 80's movie like Top Gun. For a song that starts off insane and never lets up, listen to "Stay In My Rectangle." The entire song is quick, but simple. It has a darkness like that seen in Rise Against and other alternative bands on the scene.

The theme may not exactly tie every song together, but it works for this album. Take some caffeine and pop in this CD, it'll be good.

-Rachel Fredrickson

Track Listing:
1. Pride Of The Echelon
2. This Is The Worst Day Of My Life (Do You Want To Come Over)
3. September Had A Trigger Finger
4. If You See Her
5. Permanent Kitten
6. Needle Park
7. To All The Plain Janes
8. Between The Bridge And The Chapel
9. Dancing On The Perimeter
10. Sending You A Signal
11. Lindsay Never Gets Lonely
12. Stay In My Rectangle
13. Hospitality Girl


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Mike Doughty



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