As a first year music reviewer for Impact, I’ve listened to a LOT of bands that copy the sound of other popular bands, most of them using the Nickelback rule of song writing; us the same chord progressions in the same key, wait 8 measures, start singing.
When I first read Cedar Avenue’s band description to the group at our weekly meeting, the words “husband and wife duo” made us all groan. Then I popped in Cedar Avenue’s CD, Someday Soon, and it was like a breath of fresh air.
The first few processed notes from the bass line in the opening ballad, "Tuesday", had my head nodding, then the crisp acoustic guitar chords sucked me in. Jesse Matthews' soaring tenor voice hits falsetto notes effortlessly and the song writing makes the rest of the upbeat ballads (there are three in total) not seem trite or sappy. Quite the contrary actually; they’re thought provoking and poignant. The song talks about a long-lost toxic love returning to someones life, and the slow haunting fade of a repeating minor chord scale is the icing on the cake.
When the band picks up they beat, none of the dynamic structure and content is lost. The tracks, Up North, Someday Soon, Icarus and Running Home are all favorites on my iPod when I’m out running or biking.
I think one of the best tracks that demonstrates great matching of lyrics with song writing is in the title track, "Someday Soon." Matthews sings, “Someday soon I’ll do the things that I’ve been saying, but I can’t stop this world. It spins in motion.” The guitar break after just makes you realize how he’s stopped in his tracks from accomplishing his goals. By the end of the song, you’re really cheering for him when he sings, “All I need is a possibility.”
"Icarus" covers some of that same ground. “And it won’t be that much longer, one more week to work it out. I’ll fix me when I’m older, it’s too much now to think about.”
My only complain in the entire CD is one guitar lick in "Running Home." When it comes time for the guitar solo, it left me wanting something more profound, rather then the same three or four chords repeated over for four bars, but what that might sound like, I’m not sure.
Overall, the production values are spot-on, with no muddied vocals or over powered guitar or drums like some freshman releases have offered us here at the Impact.
Matthews, who does the bulk of the song writing, has done an outstanding job of crafting music into three minutes and 30 second stories you want to share with your friends and family. I’ll give this two enthusiastic thumbs up and a loud, “Hell yeah, spin it!”.