Pat McGee Band


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Giant Records must be hoping it has another Dave Matthews Band on its hands with the Pat McGee Band, another outfit formed by a Virginia-based singer/songwriter that issued several albums on its own label and built up a regional following by touring extensively. But the McGee Band is stylistically a little closer to an earlier Virginia model, Bruce Hornsby and the Range, than it is to Matthews. Their folk-rock tunes are full of acoustic guitars and such stringed instruments as banjo and mandolin; while they do not eschew electric instruments, their interest in melodies and harmonies give them more of a folk-pop than a jam-rock sound. That being the case, the quality of their songwriting comes under greater scrutiny, and, unfortunately, McGee is an underdeveloped lyricist who writes in sentence fragments and tends to use the same kinds of words over and over. There is an overwhelming concern with being "fine," "all right," and "okay" in his songs; he is overly fond of rhyming words that employ long "i"'s (one song is called "Fine," another "Shine"), and images relating to light, especially the sun, turn up too often. For all that, the lyrics are so sketchy that it is often unclear exactly what he's trying to say, though romantic sentiments and references to separation are frequent. It may be that, in a concert, where the band can stretch out and display its interaction, and where nobody's reading a lyric sheet, the flaws of composition are less apparent. Shine presents a band that, like many young bands, has developed its own distinctive sound, but has not, so far, developed an original repertoire that lives up to that sound.

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