Cosmic Rough Riders

Too Close to See Far

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Despite accolades for the Cosmic Rough Riders' masterful 2000 debut, Enjoy the Melodic Sunshine, the band's vocalist and principal songwriter, Daniel Wylie, exited the Glasgow outfit, leaving the remaining members with the difficult task of crafting a suitable follow-up. If hopes were low, the harmony-laden Too Close to See Far well exceeds expectations to become not just a respectable follow-up, but a delightful album you'll be drawn to again and again. Guitarist Stephen Fleming sounds at ease with his promotion to frontman on tuneful, harmony-laden numbers like "Justify the Rain" and "For a Smile," that -- like the first single, "Because of You" -- pay homage to fellow Scots Teenage Fanclub. Like TFC, there are elements of the "B" bands (the Byrds, Big Star, and the Beach Boys) on most of the tracks here. At times, Fleming's pipes can sound anonymous, making "Kill the Time" and "Life in Wartime" sound like they could be segments of the same song, but in large part CRR triumphs. They're obviously not the band they once were, but with real gumption and the previously unheard, introspective direction of "Tomorrow May Never Come" to build on, the Cosmics are here to stay.

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