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CD REVIEW: Sharp Practise  - Steal With Pride

by: Cyrus Rhodes

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Artist: Sharp Practise
CD:
Steal With Pride

Label: Independent Artist

Website: http://www.sharppractise.com/

Genre: 70’s Classic Rock, Jam Band, Rhythm and Blues, Psychedelic Rock

Sounds Like: The Smithereens, Eddie Money, The Who, Bob Welch, Spoon, Peter Frampton, The Doors

Technical Grade: 6/10

Production/Musicianship Grade: 6/10
Commercial Value: 6/10
Overall Talent Level: 8/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 7/10
Best Songs: Hard Heart, Over to Catlin’s, Good Speech, Fine Line,

Weakness: Dated Sound and Mix, Marketability Karaoke-ish type musical vibe, No Barcode

CD REVIEW:

English Rock band Sharp Practise plays melodic rock. Like the great classic rock groups, we want to be a credible act that is capable of having hit singles. From progressive rock we've taken the idea of trying to develop the quality of our playing to a good standard. Like punks we want to make our own opportunities when none already exist. And from the days of the great album bands, we want to use the studio as an additional instrument. Band members include: Michael Elwood (Drums), Nigel Clothier (Vocal) , Ryan Lawson (Bass), and Simon Foley (Guitar).

The CD kicks gets off the ground nicely with "Jog On” a smooth flowing intro piece that serves up slamming Rock groove meshed against thought provoking lyrical content and  effective harmonies. Track 2 “Burnin’ Blood” keeps things moving in the right direction with it’s methodical intro, steady flowing rhythm, well placed guitar chops painted against a hooky chorus making for an impressive follow-up statement. Track 3 “Hard Heart” rocks the house with it’s bluesy rhythm, impressive harmonies and guitar ambience. The CD makes a great first impression dashing out 3 catchy songs in a row. The musicianship of everyone involved is clearly above the bar. I would classify this music as Classic Rock, with brief touches of Blues and Jam Band, R&B to Psychedelic Rock of the 70’s and 80’s. Music is reminiscent of classic The Smithereens, Eddie Money, Bob Welch, John Mayer, The Who, Spoon, The Doors and Peter Frampton. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with things like impressive rhythm guitar and solid guitar solos, impressive Organ and Keyboards, lush harmonies, harmonica layered everywhere all built upon a thick as a brick rhythm section. What I like the most about this band is how well they seem to groove together, testament to hundreds of hours of writing and rehearsal time no doubt. Now turning our attention over to Clothier - as for his vocal abilities well he’s reminds me of a modern day Jim Morrison – though he doesn’t look a thing like him. His voice goes down smooth and fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively with a timber that’s infectious. All songs are well crafted and consistent across the board. This CD from Sharp Practise
delivers 10 rock solid tracks all providing musical enjoyment filled with strong musical variety and diversity. From hypnotic “Keep It Dark” to melodic and heartfelt “Over to Catlin’s” and “Maybe (This Ain’t Right) to clever “Good Speech” to rocking “Wish my Girlfriend was a Vampire” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 10 “Justice” the perfect finale statement for a CD like this.  

This is not the best mix I’ve ever heard. In the end it lacks a modern day marketability, flair and dynamic. CD and band sounds relatively dated reminiscent of bands popular 20+ year ago. It’s fair to say the band needs to modernize their sound a bit more. IF they molded their sound more like The Bloodhound Gang, The Gorillaz of Blur they could be huge! Some songs sound kind of cheesy, almost Karaoke-ish in-fact. Many songs are polarizing to each other as some songs are clearly better than others. I fully realize this is a subjective art form but some of the aforementioned issues do effect the CD's overall marketability. Some of the lyrical content is a bit profane, gaudy and a bit over the top and overcompensating – some of this applies to the cover art concept. There is no barcode anywhere on the CD indicating to me a retail non-compatibility.

From start to finish Steal with Pride by Sharp Practise is a rock solid musical statement. The songwriting – 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 catalog. The writing and playing abilities of these 4 is rock solid. The melodies and harmonies are well crafted, and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with good old fashioned no holds barred Rock n Roll, Jam Band, R&B swagger At the end of the day Sharp Practise brings the mojo and is clearly a marquee talent based out of the UK. 

Cyrus Rhodes