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CD REVIEW: 2 the Nines - Oblivion (CD)

By: Cyrus Rhodes



"like a powerful drug"






Artist: 2 The Nines
Album: Oblivion
Label: Independent Artist

Genre: Pop, Acoustic Hip Hop, Earthy Soul
Sounds Like: Jason Mraz, Savage Garden, Maroon 5, Rob Thomas
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Hic up, Take me Home, Catch a Cold

Weakness: A few winded songs


Singer/Songwriter duo “2 The Nines” just released the latest CD entitled Oblivion in 2012. Band members consist of TJ Runnells (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, ukulele and beatbox), and Nick Midulla (lead acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitar synths and organs, drum programming and percussion). Band hails from Southern California.

The CD gently takes flight with “Hic Up” a smooth flowing intro ballad that serves up delicate earthy guitar groove against inviting rhythm and passionate vocal delivery and harmonies from Runnells. This first is quite impressive and  melodic as it flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. Track 2 “Catch a Cold” keeps thing moving in the smooth and soulful direction with impressive vibe, hooky vocals from Runnells with steady flowing rhythm, smooth melodic guitar accents making for an impressive follow up ballad. Track 3 “2 Eyes” shifts gears a bit with its striking vocal groove, gradually building into an impressive heart felt ballad with passionate finale and compelling lyrical content. The CD makes a great first impression dashing out 3 impressive songs in a row. The musicianship is highly original. Creative and the earthy fretwork from Midulla is clearly above the bar. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with things like acoustic jazz guitar, piano, impressive percussive accents including acoustic and electric guitars, ukulele, beatbox, lead acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitar synths and organs, drum programming, percussion and impressive soloing. As this CD slowly unfolds its obvious these two are quite talented and accomplished. Kudos goes out to the impressive guitar chops and infectious grooves you get from both these guys. They push the natural accents well. What I like the most about this band is how well they seem to groove together, testament to hundreds of hours of rehearsal time no doubt. Now turning our attention over to Runnells - as for his vocal abilities, his voice works extremely well within the confines of this soulful and colorful catalogue. His voice goes down smooth and fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively. I might add Runnells takes several amazing vocal risks throughout the CD indicated to me a strong and confident vocal ability. He also possesses quit a lot of soul overall. I suspect some of his vocal influences are – Jason Mraz, Rob Thomas and Darren Hayes (SavageGarden). All songs are extremely well crafted and consistent across the board. This CD from “2 The Nines” 13 solid tracks all providing thought provoking wisdom with messages that are uplifting, passionate and positive. From dynamic “Oblivion” to gripping “Cemetery Wedding” to grooving “Rattus” and "Baby’s Coming” to upbeat “Take me Home” and “Best Friends” to heartfelt “I’m a Stone” to striking “All These Drugs” this CD pretty much has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 13 “A Change is Gonna Come” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber. 

All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line.

From start to finish “Oblivion” from “2 The Nines” is an impressive collection of music. The music is highly original, extremely creative, passionate, uplifting, and will grab you right from the start like a powerful drug - making you think you might need a Los Angeles DUI attorney. The songwriting – world class, all consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair and signature groove. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really weak piece on this entire CD. The writing and playing abilities of this duo is rock solid, the melodies and harmonies are well crafted, and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with conventional wisdom and messages of love, and love lost. One would be wise to keep a watchful eye on these two as 2013 unfolds.

Cyrus Rhodes

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