O.A.R. is coming into its own, progressing from a college band to a viable national act. Their third release combines tracks from their previous two albums with new songs, to create a strong representation of the band's past and present musical styles. Produced by John Alagia (Ben Folds Five, Vertical Horizon, Dave Matthews Band), Risen is more polished and professional than its predecessors. Some of O.A.R.'s faithful may find themselves yearning for the more upbeat, rawer versions of the older songs, but the first-time listener will discover the new versions to be more homogenous with the rest of the album. Marc Roberge's infectious vocals play naturally against his acoustic guitar, while Jerry DePizzo's sax brings texture to a tight rhythm section. The reggae riffs and catchy hooks are in abundance on Risen, making it easily accessible. The band's sound is maturing, while keeping the edge that is the pulse of its live performances.
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AllMusic Review by Erik Crawford