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Well produced, with a crisp, clear sound, The Garrison Project doesn't suffer the technical woes of most indie rock bands, but it raises other questions: the main one being, haven't I heard this before?
It's tough not to compare The Garrison Project to Fleetwood Mac, with both bands having a lead female vocalist complementing traditional rock instrumentation. While this is hardly a bad thing, it simply lacks originality, for as good as Tara Engler of The Garrison Project can belt out tunes, she lacks the edgy playfulness of Nicks which on tracks like "Dreams" and "I Don't Want to Know" confirmed her status as rock music legend. Engler, while solid on tracks like "Love's Alright" and "Questions in the Night," never takes any real vocal gambles, staying within a comfortable melodic range. In other words, there is no hook that keeps the listener wanting more, and in music, that's the ultimate crime.
More problems arise as the laser cuts deeper into the CD. The third song, "Can You Hear Me Calling," blatantly rips off the guitar riff from Michael Jackson's "Black or White." Of all riffs, using one from a song whose video feature McCauley Calkin is poor taste in the world of duplication, let alone musicianship. "Arms of Rock & Roll," the fifth track, is a half-hearted John Cougar blues-rock effort that, though well produced, is not bluesy enough and only rocks the button needed to skip over it.
But then there's "Distant Eyes (Sailing Away)" the highlight of the album. A tranquil, melodic piece exploring the progression of time, it stands as the lone hit on an uneven record. Unlike other tracks, "Distance Eyes" doesn't feel forced. It's as if a thunderstorm has just ended, and as the dark clouds move on, a slight sprinkle has erupted. Standing in that sprinkle we forget about the storm for the time being, "Sailing Away" in the surreal ambiance of it all.
Everyone has a chance to express their musicianship on the album, and good musicians they are, yet there is something missing-a cometogetherness that lights a recording on fire. The Garrison Project has it on "Sailing Away," but nowhere else. The potential for The Garrison Project is phenomenal, but for now we only get a taste of what is to come.
Eric Myers is a Contributing Writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.