Nov 12, 2008
Although much effort seems to be going into promoting this disc, it is
surprisingly unspectacular. Portland's Play> is a competent
band, but all they really do is play rock music. Very
straightforwardly. As a result, this whole album is
a mixed bag.
The better songs on this debut are melodic, energetic, and
more or less fun. Radio-ready "Your Lie" is
a good example - a sticky, low-key pop song,
it isn't spectacular but its verses are remarkably catchy.
This is the type of guitar-oriented rock/pop
that dominated variety stations in the nineties. Opener "Today" also
has its share of effective hooks, while "Outta
the Rain" is conceptually successful but has been pulled off
One problem I have with this disc is the nature of frontman Tris
Lass' vocals. He has a vaguely goofy, swooping voice that lacks
the necessary power for Play>'s more fiery songs ("Window,"
"Life X"); meanwhile, he
also sounds silly in a slow-song
context ("Conflicted," appallingly long "Moment"). In fact, the brief
instrumental interludes tend to be more pleasant than the rest of this
But Lass' voice isn't the only problem here. These songs
lack originality, and a lot of them aren't sufficiently polished or
compositionally taut. As a rock album, Play> is good enough to
be consumed passively, but there is little here that will grab the
listener and keep him or her coming back.
[Vitals: 14 tracks, distributed by
released Nov 18, 2008]