A House All on Fire

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Three vocalist/songwriters in a band can spell trouble, like too many cooks spoiling the soup. After ten years of playing together, Phil Beaumont, Bruce McKenzie, and Eric Nielson (who all sing as well as play bass, guitar, and keyboard) do know how to work off each other. As a whole, however, the California band comes up short of being easy on the ears with A House All on Fire. And for an artist who settles on the quiet side of rock, that's a huge factor in determining its success. Whether it's the straining, wobbly vocals on "Careless Fearless" or a barking dog for effect on "Summer of Sad Songs," the band is less pastoral than it was on What the Day Was Dreaming. Another problem spot is "Long Lost Love," which turns into a self-indulgent jam that leaves country for experimental, while basically leading nowhere. Perhaps a self-mixed record wasn't the best idea here.

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