Paloalto

Paloalto

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Like many rock bands, Paloalto is really a vehicle for a singer/songwriter, in this case James Grundler. The band plays melodic, guitar-dominated rock in a conventional, familiar style. Grundler has a throaty tenor that is kept high in the mix, the better to appreciate his introspective, thoughtful lyrics. But whether he is asking, "What is real?" ("Too Many Questions"), or declaring, "Don't sell me religion" ("Swim"), it is the overall sound of the band that makes more of an impression than his allusive words. The lead track, "Depression Age," and "Swim" are hard rockers, but much of the album is softer, with such songs as "Beauty of Disaster" driven by a strummed acoustic guitar. A new band at the time of this recording, Paloalto sports the kinetic energy of a live act, with the songs often building to forceful crescendos. Grundler has a good sense of dynamics that he uses to powerful effect. On the basis of this debut, it can't be said that Paloalto really stands out from the crowded pack of new rock bands at the time of release in late 2000, but the album is a promising beginning to the band's career.

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