Vonray's self-titled Elektra debut is a collection of guitar anthems and ballads that should appeal to fans of middling adult alternative groups like Live, Vertical Horizon, and Remy Zero. Vaughan Rhea is the band's namesake, frontman, and one of three guitarists. He is joined by brother Dave Rhea on bass, drummer Jeff Irizarry, and fellow guitarists Garrett Coleman and Todd Hackenburg. While Vaughan seems to have a strong voice, his delivery here is an irritating three-part impersonation of Eddie Vedder, Ed Kowalczyk, and Scott Stapp. Each lyrical couplet ends with a short, emotive intake of air; most choruses erupt in the throaty, arena-ready bellow Vedder bequeathed to Stapp. Musically, the band evokes the stilted, tentative pop style of CCM groups such as Jars of Clay. Quasi-spiritual lyrics ("Evil deeds that breed temptation," from the Pearl Jam-meets-Live songwriting project "Part of Me") don't help matters any. The rousing first single "Inside Out" has gained exposure for the band through its inclusion on the Smallville soundtrack; there, it is in good company with sound-alikes Lifehouse and Steadman. "Inside Out" is also one of only two songs on Vonray written exclusively by Rhea or his band. The majority of the record was co-written by Rhea and producer Marc Tanner, who has worked with the Calling, another overly dramatic modern rock combo with a strikingly derivative sound. Since so many of these groups lack even the relative grit of a band like Creed, yet aren't talented enough as players or songwriters to appeal to the more discerning alternative music consumer, they are destined to fill the middle spots on soundtracks to romantic comedies, or, in Vonray's case, to programs on the WB.
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AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus