Speak No Evil

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AllMusic Review by Michael Berick

Nashville-based Pinmonkey has a smooth, melodic country-rock style that would be received well in the executive offices of Music Row as well as the bars on lower Broadway. The young band's chief strength rests in its vocals. Lead singer Michael Reynolds boasts a clear tenor that is both sturdy and sweet. He moves from being soulful and sorrowful on "Augusta" to commanding and soaring on "The Devil's Front Door." The group also graces its songs with some fine harmonizing, which only enhances Reynolds' strong singing. With its accent on vocals and easygoing sound, Pinmonkey brings to mind such '70s country bands as the Eagles and Poco. The band's sublime rendition of "Love Sometimes" makes such an immediate impact that you'd swear you've heard it on the radio for years. Band originals are in the minority here -- only four of the ten tunes -- but songs like "Cheap Motel" and "Black Train" demonstrate that singer Reynolds has the songwriting skills to match his singing ability. The group also displays some smarts in its cover choices. Besides selecting tunes from veteran Nashville songwriters such as Gwil Owen (author of "Augusta") and Joy Lynn White and Duane Jarvis (they co-wrote "Love Sometimes"), the bandmembers reveal their affection for backwoods music by covering the Carter Family's "Lonesome Pine Special" and Gillian Welch's "Two Days From Knowing." The disc's main shortcoming is that the music sometimes comes off as a bit too slick and soft-edged. While the songs are catchy and appealing, they too frequently slip past without making an indelible impression. Still, the band displays a number of good qualities and the self-released Speak No Evil should serve as a calling card for entry into the major-label arena.

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