George Usher

Fire Garden

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Fire Garden by the George Usher Group is a guitar pop record influenced by great bands like the Byrds, the Raspberries, the Rubinoos, and the Beatles. Lots of jangling six- and 12-string guitars, pristine vocal harmonies, and classic chord progressions put the record firmly in the pop underground camp. Unfortunately like many of the records that fall into that slot, Fire Garden is lacking in spark and originality. Songs like "Are You Coming or Going?," the vaguely country-ish "Fade," "Dancing in Troy," and "Daylight Comes" aren't catchy either. They just slowly page by one after the other in a hermetically sealed blur of well-chosen influences. It certainly doesn't help matters much that Usher's voice is unremarkable and even a little whiny. It also doesn't help that the record has 15 songs incredibly similar-sounding songs to work one's way through. From the homemade Photoshop cover to the clinically scoured mix courtesy of Mitch Easter to the lack of even one tune that makes your ears prick up, there is nothing about Fire Garden that makes it stand out in the unnecessarily crowded pop underground scene.

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