The Cherry Valence

TCV3

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For their third album, 2005's TCV3, Southern hard rockers the Cherry Valence jump from Estrus to Bifocal Media and shuffle their lineup but otherwise they haven't changed much. There is still plenty of riffin'; there are songs that sound like they would fit quite snugly in the rotation of a mid-'70s AOR station next to Nazareth, Ted Nugent, and Led Zeppelin and they continue to sport dual drummer/vocalists, which still kicks serious rock & roll business. TCV3 kicks off with a trio of tunes that stake a claim right at the head of 2005's hard rock revival class. "Sunglasses and Headlights" motors like classic Montrose with some fierce guitar and a killer chorus, "Minutes" is more laid-back, riding a nicely funky groove much like the one the Black Crowes lost many years ago, and "Only Game in Town" is a tight rocker that jumps like something off of the MC5's Back in the USA. From there the record hits a relaxed groove that kind of lulls the listener into taking it for granted. Not that there is anything bad going on, but apart from the awesomely rocking "Couldn't Stop It," there just isn't anything quite as fierce and entertaining as the opening volley. Near the end of the record things slam back into focus with a batch of wall-rattling rockers ("Two Steps Forward," the super-catchy "You've Got to Wait," and "Caves of Steel") that leaves you in a sweaty pile by the conclusion and generally saves the record from mediocrity. Even pushes it toward above average, maybe. The patch of standard-issue CV tunes in the heart of the album could mean that the band is nearing the end of its run, but then again they also come up with some of their best songs as well. Hmm...well, why waste your time scratching your head over it, just load the six or seven songs that will shake your foundation on your iPod, or better still, a dusty old cassette, and blast them next time you need an retro-AOR fix.

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