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CD Reviews:  Wayne: Music on Plastic

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It seems every few years melodic pop/rock bands break through the current flavor of alternative music, such as grunge or nu-metal, and burst onto the scene to feed the starving fans of, well, songs. The latest to break through is a five-piece band from Birmingham, Alabama called Wayne. This album just reeks of middle America, sounding at various times like Toad the Wet Sprocket, Train and the Gin Blossoms. Sweet singsong guitars dance around lead singer/songwriter Rodney Reaves' rock tenor voice, which isn't a coincidence because the band has three guitar players.

"Slow Down" is not a burning rocker to open the album, but is powerful and melodic enough to draw your attention. "Shooting at the Stars" is one of those songs that sticks like Krazy Glue to the back of your brain, but in a pleasant way with lots of vocal harmonies. "Whisper" is the first single and though I wouldn't have chosen this one, it's hooky as well. "Letterbox" is a jangly acoustic alt-country piece and "Be This Way" is another mid-tempo, sugar- coated pop song that just begs for radio play. The last four tracks, from "With Regards" to "Drop D," bring to mind Brit-popsters Coldplay -- songs that are very slow and sometimes a bit droning. But it's all good. And oh, there's a hidden track for those of you who like cover tunes -- a damn good version of the Elton John classic "Goodbye Yellowbrick Road." 

Do you like bands that come from the Aware Records camp? Do you like melodic yet introspective songs from pop/rocksters like the bands I mentioned or like, say, Counting Crows or Better Than Ezra? No? Okay, go back to your Creed sound-a-likes. The rest of you, and I know there are lots of you, you're going to LOVE Wayne. 

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