Patrick Garrity (rhythm guitar/vocals), Dave Mehring (bass/vocals), Paul Nicholas (drums) and Aaron Lowenberger (lead guitar/vocals) are Round About. The band formed in 2010 and recently released their third album entitled Coming Into Focus.
Coming Into Focus is for the most part a rock/pop album to my ears that often sounded like something I would hear back in the ’90s. They have a softer edge to them that separates them from bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, etc. due in part to a number reasons but perhaps most noticeably because of the vocals. The band that came to mind was Fountains of Wayne. Fountains of Wayne would write catchy sing-along type songs which often would have their own flavor and that's what I noticed on Coming Into Focus.
I definitely had some preferences along the way. They open with the Americana infused “Chasing Sublime” which felt the most radio friendly and takes all its cues from the songwriter’s playbook. The song contained zero surprises along the way but has a number of well written hooks. It’s a condensed song with zero fat on it but it also felt very similar to myriad songs I have heard before.
“Perfect For The Part” was the first song which felt like a standout. The mix in a smidge of Santana and The Eagles influence on this song and it gave the song a little attitude. Overall, it's really well written and immediately catchy. They start to get farther away from where they started with the reggae infused “Little Things” which turns into a delightful rock/pop song.
“Last One Standing” contains more than a hint of blues rock while “Timing” is a ballad that is more pop than rock. There are some more slight deviations. “I'm Smitten” is a fun, highlight with a hint of country. The other highlight was the closer “Wave To Me.”
There is no denying that with this album Round About have an accessible sound for a general demographic. They couldn't be farther away from experimental. In fact I wouldn’t say they poke at any concepts in terms of structure or sound that felt out of the box. Their strength is in the hooks, catchy choruses and memorable melodies.
Overall, this album offers well written, catchy songs that often seem recognizable the first time you hear them. I think a lot of people will appreciate that.
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