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Emerson Drive
Believe
(self-released)
www.emersondrive.com


Boy bands are not exclusive to the pop music realm, they also come in the country music variety whose selection has included the poppy, plush country hooks of Rascal Flatts and the gritty rock riffs of Cross Canadian Ragweed. In between these two is Emerson Drive, whose latest release Believe fits right in with modern country parameters holding court with the likes of Little Big Town, Sugarland and Rodney Atkins. At the helm is lead vocalist Brad Mates, whose deep-textured register glides in swiveling bellows that shear across the rhythmic grooves of drummer Mike Melancon and keyboardist Dale Wallace, as guitarist Danick Dupelle and fiddle player David Pichette play up to Mates' vocal prowess.

Believe has its share of mid-tempo, lush ballads and upbeat romps that all make sense in Emerson Drive's repertoire. The rush of swells and peaks in "I Love This Road" stimulate the senses and the country rock rivets of "Livin' It Up" pump energy into the veins. The soft flickers of "Your Last" and "Belongs To You" have a slow rocking chair tempo, and the wispy strokes of "The Extra Mile" induce a pensive shading. The upbeat pulses of the title track and "This Was Us" are filled by blazing chord progressions sealed by tight transitions. The band's lyrics vary like their songs, ranging from the intimate settings of "That Kind Of Beautiful" to the inspiring "Livin' It Up" and the pensive toned "That Was Us" as Mates reminisces, "That was us having fun / Who says youth is wasted on the young / Glory days come and go / So we just make the most of the days that we call growing up."

Believe is a pleasant album whether people want to view the music as modern country, poetic coffeehouse folk, contemporary pop, or soft rock. Emerson Drive fit all these categories and leave room to add more to their repertoire of goodies.

-Susan Frances

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