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centrevol2.jpgCENTREVOL
BEGGARS AND THIEVES
Self-released
9/10

When I got my most recent stack of CDs to review I picked through a stack of what looked like absolute garbage. The only CD that really caught my eye (in a good way, anyhow) was a CD by a trio named Centrevol. Looking at the album liner I immediately thought “The Police.” When it comes to trios, no matter how incredible The Jam was, The Police are the most renowned and recognizable of all time. There was more to it than that; something about the look of the album, it just had a hint of new-wave about it.

So I threw it in the player. Sure enough, it has a very Sting-like feel. Jonathan Guinta’s bass really helps drive the songs with Nate Burkhardt’s drumming, and his basslines are prominently featured. The guitars and keys, both done by Peter Guinta, are spacy and add a depth to the songs. The band labels themselves as ambient alternative rock on their MySpace page, and that seems to fit.

The group stands alone though, the Sting/The Police comparison is simply that. It’s the best kind of tribute – when an act’s influences are obvious, but not overpowering. A number of slower tracks plus vocalist Peter Guinta’s voice make me think of Travis or other British rock bands. “Too Much to Ask” is one key example. “#7,” which, ironically, is track number eleven, delves into ambient jazz territory and could almost be a Chili Pepper’s song. “She Moves Me (Like a Song)” is a standout. It opens with a keyboard that slowly fades in until the drums and bass kick in and the song is off. It doesn’t let up until a bridge and breakdown at about the three minute mark. “Flame” is equally as rocking, but with a more of a head-bobbing pace. I’m also a sucker for hand claps, and “Fifth Avenue Dream” delivers on that front.

I’ve still been writing for Racket for a brief enough time that I can recall every batch of CDs I’ve reviewed for them. I can honestly say that this is the most listenable CD I’ve gotten since I reviewed the compilation of unreleased material from Rocket from the Crypt back in the summer. Many CDs a reviewer gets will only get a few spins in the player, just long enough to come up with the right adjectives to describe how terrible they are. I actually rock this one. It’s available for download on Itunes and all that jazz. If you can afford to, pick it up. These boys self-released this album; they could use the support.

-Luke Toney