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Reviewed by Mike Farley
The best part about Cold in California is the fact that Hollywood Records did nothing to turn this band into something they are not. Along with producer Oliver Leiber (Paula Abdul, BB Mak, the Corrs), this album is truly representative of Ingram Hill—a guitar-driven rock band that writes simple yet incredibly infectious songs.
“I Hear Goodnight” kicks things off and is the kind of song that could be the focal point of a songwriting clinic, complete with a sugary chorus that lifts into the sky. The same goes for “Four Letter Word,” a scornful song about an ex-girlfriend named Mary (which happens to BE the four letter word). There’s a modest cover of the Plimsouls’ “Million Miles Away” and a slew of mid-tempo songs that have hooks so strong they will punch you in the gut (“She Wants To Be Alone,” “Impossible,” “Troubled Mercy”). But by far the best track is the acoustic tinged “What You Want,” which will remind fans of good pop ballads why they fell in love with music in the first place. It also brings to mind country rock band Restless Heart, and may be the kind of song some country artist will eventually be foaming at the mouth to record.
The music industry needs more no-frills bands like Ingram Hill. There is way too much regurgitated pop/punk, too many regurgitated Creed and Nickelback clones, too many girls who are too young to be stars, and too many rappers bickering for media hype. Cold in California is good music in its purest form, and your ears should put up a big “Welcome” sign when they hear it.