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R50 - All Time Low 
By Chuck G.

R50 has a good thing going.

The Tampa-area quartet(now a 3-piece?) formerly known as Rosco have made as complete a self-produced album I have ever heard from a band without a record label. The songs are tight and none veer far from their vision of hooky, melodic hard rock.

The CD photos show a band of tattooed sneering, jeering music jockeys showcasing in graven image just how in-your-face they want their music to be to the listener.

In your face is one thing, but in your ear is completely another. The one thing that holds this back from being a flawless submission is the production, or lack thereof. A straight-ahead rock band, R50 could benefit from the addition of a little nuance and studio chicanery. From a demo standpoint, "All Time Low" is fantastic. As an album to be sold in stores and for mass consumption, it comes off sounding sonically flat.

The music is very good. Arrangements are without a lot of frills and what they do with background vocals are something not a lot of bands are doing today. They sing and are capable of harmonizing...what a concept! Their blend of Beatles-meets-Cheap Trick is not unlike what Enuff Z'Nuff was trying to do in the late 80s. But "All Time Low" puts an updated spin on that style and substance doesn't suffer. This collection of music is a gem.

Standout tracks like "All Time Low," "The Life I Know"(repeated wonderfully as an acoustic piece after the album's conclusion), and the driving "Alive," with Geoff Abraham's built-in nasal vocal effects, forge the ideal that while captured to a great degree on CD, these songs yearn to be heard live and loud.

But these aren't even the radio-friendly songs...R50 serves up the final helping of the album with the sticky-sweet "A Better Version" and "Not Givin' In"(why isn't this on the radio?). Rounding out this excellent showing is the foreboding showpiece that is "Oblivion."

The band plays well within themselves and the songs are keyed to tailor to Geoff  Abraham's mid-range vocals. There are no standout performances which is great...this is an all-for-one, one-for-all effort. 

Abraham is a capable singer, affecting plenty of attitude and emotion. But there were times I was hoping Abraham would really go for it in expressiveness, but took the road MORE traveled. The most dynamic performance was that of Drew Thompson's drumming near the conclusion of "Not Giving In."

Geoff Abraham sings on "A Better Version" that "I just want to be someone who's better than me." Taking production up a notch, I think, would do the trick.

CD Info 

R50 - All Time Low
1.) Drag 
2.) Something Better 
3.) My Sweet Enemy 
4.) All Time Low
5.) The Life I Know 
6.) All Over You 
7.) Alive 
8.) Level 
9.) Not Givin' In 
10.) A Better Version 
11.) Oblivion 
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online

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