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VonRay - 2003 VonRay

Vaughan Rhea - vocals, guitars
Dave Rhea - bass, vocals
Garrett Coleman - rhythm guitar, vocals
Todd Hackenburg - lead guitar
Jeff Irizarry - drums

Florida newcomers VonRay have, along with new band Closure, recently been hyped as the next big thing in modern rock circles. The band have certainly paid their dues, and they have been around in one form or another since 1993: lead singer Vaughan Rhea is 29. Although the quintet's brand of contemporary melodic rock is engaging enough, the harsh truth is that it ultimately lacks the class and songwriting quality of soundalike bands such as Matchbox Twenty. Indeed, whilst listening to the band's major label debut, it's difficult to avoid the harsh realisation that we've heard all this before as the band skip from one mid-paced and alternative-flavoured modern rock tune to the next. The Calling's producer (and former Nelson co-writer) Marc Tanner may be at the helm, but although there are a couple of decent tracks, there's certainly no 'Wherever You Will Go' on here.

The Songs
It all starts promisingly enough, with powerful opener and first single 'Inside Out' pushing all the right melodic buttons, while Vaughan Rhea's voice and melody line on 'I'll Show You' recalls Matt Scannell and Vertical Horizon. 'Hole', which combines an instant chorus with a more grungy vibe, is probably the pick of the bunch, but tunes like 'Stranded' and 'Unstoppable Wave' are either sub-standard, or lose their identity under the weight of Tanner's crisp and excessively glossy production. Lyrically dark and moody songs such as 'I'm Learning' and 'Part of Me', which hint at a more interesting side of Rhea's songwriting, sound as soulless as run-of-the mill pop rockers such as 'That's OK' as a result of Tanner's studio sheen.

In Summary
Overall, VonRay would probably be a must-have if you hadn't heard any modern rock bands during the past four years, but the fact remains that they are simply too derivative of a number of superior nu-breed bands that have come before them to render this album as anything other than a disappointment.

Track Listing:
01 Inside Out
02 Part Of Me
03 Hole
04 I'll Show You
05 I'm Learning
06 Strange
07 That's OK
08 Stranded
09 Fame
10 The Letter
11 Unstoppable Wave

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#1 | Jez on June 16 2008 02:53:34
The Nu Breed tag will obviously get bandied about with this one, but they are just a fantastic modern melodic rock band with killer songs (Inside Out, Part Of Me being 2 of the highlights). For a debut album, this sure teaches some of the old school a thing or two.

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