This debut album by one of the most popular hard rock groups in the area has something in its 46-plus minutes for everyone. A heavy-metal homage to Metallica? No problem, courtesy of singer Dave Schmoekels sounding more than a little like James Hetrick.
Clever, power-pop tunes, with Gabe Berrys chord-machine guitar? Got em right here. Impressive changes in dynamics, soft and loud used to highlight dramatic differences among songs, and even within songs? Take a listen. Bits and pieces that remind
the listener of early Cars? Well, there was a difference of opinion on that one in the house Sunday afternoon, but the reviewer gets the last word, doesnt he?
Neato, Schmoekel and Berry are joined by Jason Berry on drums and Beav on bass. One of the best local CD covers in a while features the band members in grade-school pictures, as well as all grown-up. Like the record albums of old, it gives the listener
something visual to do while listening to the music. I think I have the pictures matched up; luckily theres no test. Gabe Berry, even at that tender age, had the look of an aspiring rock n roll guitarist, all attitude and spiked hair. His poor teachers.
The premier track probably is Cheating, featured on the new
Extreme Essential Vol. 4 compilation CD. It features all the bands strengths, most of them already mentioned. Repeated listening makes me think this cut is ready for national exposure. Built on catchy hooks and Berrys chunky guitar, it strikes just the right balance between
loud and clear. The singer insists, he wasnt cheating, but makes it clear that, if Im leaving with a broken heart/ youre leaving with a bleeding nose. Repeated singing of the words no, no, no and yes, yes, yes may leave the listener unsure
of whos cheating, but not of the potential of the song-writing and playing potential of this group.
Re-bop features a nice interplay between Schmoekels re-bop a bop (or something like that) and, again, Berrys guitar work. Okay, I really like these guys working together. Jason Berry provides a staccato drum beat and ol Beav is steady and tasteful
as usual on bass.
The CD release party for Neato is scheduled for December 21 at Pieres. If youve already missed that, check the band out December 23 at Legends (with Rosemary Gates) and December 30 at Broadripple Place. Judging from
Neato, Abraham is a band you dont want to miss live too many times.
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March 27 • The Clyde