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The Berrys

Fairmount Station

(self-released; US: 6 Jun 2011; UK: 6 Jun 2011)

Pleasant music, sung by nice people

The Berrys play music that might best be described as pleasant. Sometimes, of course, pleasant is just what the doctor ordered, and this Brooklyn four-piece delivers, courtesy of Briana Berry’s country-esque vocals. They’re coupled with clean, unobtrusive accompaniment from dad Jefferson Berry on guitar, Billy Hyatt on bass and Bud Burroughs on a range of instruments including mandolin and keyboards.


The muscular arrangements and overall verve of openers “Cry Baby Aida” and “Nyame” promise something more than just pleasantness—a promise that swiftly proves false. The album suffers from a string of numbers—such as “Sleeping in Public,” “Hard to Hold” and “Soapbox”—which wash away the early promise in a wave of forgettable guitar strumming and bland lyrics. The late-album arrival of “Water’s Gonna Rise” injects some life, both vocally and instrumentally, but it’s too little too late. Next time around, the Berrys would do well to infuse this song’s soul into the proceedings from the get-go. A little less pleasantness, please, and a bit more fire.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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