Saturday, April 30, 2011

Album Review: "Pretty Money" by Jack the Radio

"Pretty Money" was released on April 26, 2011
Jack the Radio is the brainchild of A.C. Hill and George Hage, who met at NC State University. It began as a side project back in 2005 between the two when they were roommates, but it soon faded in favor of other interests. Hill and Hage have recently revived the project, adding more members and a fresh focus. Jack the Radio sounds like country indie funk, somehow seamlessly mixing the genres into something unique. “Pretty Money” is their debut album, showcasing their amazing dynamic as a band.

The album is a pretty even mix of funky beats and softer ballads. It starts out with Outlaws, with bluesy guitar riffs that are somewhat Aerosmithian. It really sums up the album, both in sound and title – it sounds like it might be the soundtrack to some kind of awesome modern western. Later, Already Done gives a melancholy thumping bass and sympathetic guitar, and Lie No More is an ethereal song of a relationship gone horribly wrong - “You said you need someone, I say you're mine, you say you loved someone, I say you tried.” It really brings out the emotion in the lyrics.

Jack the Radio has a knack for arranging songs really well, and one would be surprised sometimes to find cello and bass behind their music. It shines through on tracks like “Downstream,” which combines elegant cello and Hill's nearly whispered lyrics into a really touching song. Hill and Hage's voices complement each other in nearly every song, both of which are that western southern that blends so well with the music.

If you're ever in a cigar-smoke filled poker room and you need some background music, “Pretty Money” is your album. It really is a solid debut, and I am very excited to see what this band will do next. Jack the Radio is slated to play at Hopscotch in Raleigh this September, something that shouldn'tbe missed if it is humanly possible.

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