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CD Review: Chris English's Dreamtown

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The Deal: Debut CD, Dreamtown, on Side B Music from singer/former Virgin Records employee who has opened for Hall and Oates, Doobie Brothers, Psychedelic Furs and Smithereens; worked with INXS, Joe Strummer and Ziggy Marley.

The Good: Consistent pop rock from that reminded me a lot of XTC. Some moments hinted at mellow moments of Peter-Gabriel-fronted Genesis. "Sunshine Routine" uses nice amounts of layered vocals for the background giving depth to an otherwise simple track. "I Can See Everything" has a radio-friendly/"Haven't I heard this before?" sound to it – great depth to the sound with funky bass riffs and a hint of mandolin thrown in.

The Bad: At times the music can sound quite simplistic, but it works for the album's sound and feeling. It's got an easy-going feel to it and doesn't need much complexity. I could hear the bass on select tracks, but a handful of the tracks have a tin-y sound/leaning toward the high end of the spectrum – I think it's more of a result from the choices of instrumentation than the studio mix. (Or hey, maybe it's my computer's fault.)

The Verdict: English's experience comes through – with years working in the music business, you can tell he has a handle on what makes for a good song.

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