The Essex Shuck

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An unabashed jam band from Virginia, the seven-piece Ubiquitone has a little bit of everything. Their drummer and percussionist -- Andrew Wright and Rob Wickham -- create a thick rhythmic base. Meanwhile, mandolinist and acoustic guitarist Brett Naylor and Eric Starr add folkish textures to often funk-based grooves. The band pulls in a lot of directions -- too many, in fact. The group's sound is an acoustic-electric mush, too lumbering to groove gracefully and too over-sized for any instrument to really find a voice. The album's eight songs, most clocking in at around eight minutes, are pretty banal. Though the band seems to want to switch genres, the furthest they can get is turning up, say, the mandolin in the mix. There are some good players in the band -- keyboardist Fred Miller displays a fair bit of talent -- but the group is far from developing the original sound they sorely need.

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