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concrete-class.jpgThe Lonely H
Concrete Class
The Control Group

In computer science lingo, a “concrete class” is a class that is neither derivative nor meant to be used as a foundation for other classes. Thus, The Lonely H’s newly minted, third album, titled ironically enough, Concrete Class, is in, well, a class by itself. With a mix of guitar, piano, violin and 100% soul, the record invites comparisons to rock bands of 70’s lore. Yet this is anything but derivative. And for that, we owe the quartet our thanks.

“Right Down to Me” sees the band tap into the swampy roots of Macon, Georgia ‘s own Allman Brothers with their own mix of guitar and banjo . “Cold Blues” is pure culture shock, taking us back to the rock n’ roll ballads of Bob Seeger and Electric Light Orchestra. On “White Horse Tears” they slow down and let their synths and guitars do the talking for them as lead singer Mark Fredson belts out his tale of romantic and sexual woe. The diversity of styles emphasizes the band’s eclectic roots in the music of their Port Angeles youth.

That diversity extends to Fredson himself, whose vocal styles range from smoky to ruminating to downright ballsy. One minute he’s channeling Greg Allman, the next he’s in a musical séance with the ghost of Freddie Mercury. His charisma shines through it all. His distinctive style- which he owes as much to troubadours from ages past as much as his own musical philosophy- is evident on each track. Make no mistake this record is his baby as much as anyone else’s.

It’s hard to pick out a flaw in the album, it’s so put together. Personally, “Diggin’ A Hole” sounds too much like vintage .38 Special to be taken seriously (I do like the horn solo, though- very Springsteen of them), but really it’s all just a matter of taste. I wish I could say more, but I’m out of words.

At $10, it’s worth the cash. Check it out.

–Jack Winn