Texas-based Edgewater makes its Wind-Up debut with South of Sideways, and proves quite adept at the label's successful formula -- from Creed to Finger Eleven to comers like 12 Stones -- of a powerful lead singer with life's questions on his mind supported by straightforward post-grunge dynamics. In Edgewater's case, that dynamic features a two-guitar setup and a solid rhythm section, particularly the drums of Jeremy "Worm" Rees, which are mixed perfectly throughout. For his part, vocalist Matt Moseman seems to have studied at the Maynard James Keenan School for Vocal Emotion. Tool surfaces as a musical reference, too, notably on "Science of It All," "Sweet Suffocation," and "Tres Quatros." But while these tracks owe their swirling atmosphere and thick guitars to that band, it's Edgewater's trick to put a melodic face on the rage. "I find in me the destiny to be," Moseman sings in "Quatros," and the drums explode behind the chunky chords of Micha Creel and Justin Middleton. Single "Eyes Wired Shut" is similarly hopeful -- despite its painfully clichéd name and vaguely defeatist lyrics, it's an aesthetic cousin to Creed's triumphant "My Sacrifice." Edgewater can't always save itself with melody, as there's little to note about "Inhale"'s rock-by-numbers posturing ("Breath in breath out let it flOOWWWWW!"), and cuts like "Break Me Out" or "Circles" -- where tasteful clean channel noodling switches predictably into heavy choruses -- feel like formula. Still, South of Sideways is a solid replication of the post-grunge template, strong in melody and searching for meaning.
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AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus