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CD review: The Situationals

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The Deal: Charlotte quintet independently releases its full-length debut CD, Bellwether; follow-up to 2006 EP, Heaven is High and The Emperor is Far Away.

The Good: The band's multilayered aural assault has elements of a variety of genres to create something unique. Just when you think they're new wave, it gets a bit of rock ... when you think it's pop, it goes more punk. It's not that they're in search of an identity; the music sounds sure-footed in its methods.

The Bad: Singer Candice Tucker is at her best when she lets her vocals flow more naturally ... at times they can sound strained in a "I want to sound more '80s than I naturally do" kind of way or even get too nasal. "Song for Demaris Ann" started out with both of those problems – sounding too much like a wannabe Madonna or Gwen Stefani, and just when I started to lose faith, Tucker started belting out the chorus. The vocal dichotomy can get a little confusing at times – which is her real voice?

The Verdict: Give The Situationals credit for offering an original sound on the Charlotte music scene. The release party will be held on Feb. 21 at Snug Harbor. The band will play the entire album live for the first set, and then play other songs and covers for their second set.

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