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Terramara - 2008 Dust & Fiction

ARTIST: Terramara
ALBUM: Dust & Fiction
LABEL: Self Released
SERIAL: Redhead003
YEAR: 2008


LINEUP: Rob Meany - lead vocals, piano, keyboards * David Thomas - drums * Karl Koopman - guitar * James Towns, Tom Larson - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Fate Won't Wait * 02 The Other Side * 03 Blue Revolution * 04 Solar Meltdown * 05 All That I Am * 06 Screaming At The Pouring Rain * 07 On The Bus * 08 Burn Me Up * 09 Fall In Love Again * 10 A Pretty Good Friend * 11 In Your Arms * 12 Losing My Mind


Here's a Minnesota band that should be better known nationally although are barely known locally. It's depressing really; gigs in small clubs with even smaller crowds and little if any air play, Terramara deserve better than what Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) audiences have given them thus far. Yet despite regional apathy, Terramara have released three discs since 2000, the first pair drawing comparisons to Steely Dan and Sting although their third 'Dust & Fiction' finds their sophisticated jazzy angle dropped for a more concise pop direction and all the better in my opinion.

The Songs
Owing much of its sound to UK art rock; 'Dust & Fiction' works in large part to group leader and chief songwriter Rob Meany who apparently never met a catchy hook he didn't like. At times his vocal style recalls Paul Carrack while the band is seasoned and incredibly tight. For references look no further than Larry Kolota of progressive rock distributor Kinesis who nailed it when he compared the CD to XTC, Stackridge, 10cc and City Boy and I totally agree. I still hear traces of their early output in tunes like 'Fate Won't Wait' which borrows a riff or two from The Police's 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' and both Queen and the imitable Jellyfish pop-up on the stunning 'Blue Revolution' featuring Brian May fashioned guitar sounds and layered vocal harmonies. The quaint and insanely appealing 'On The Bus' dips into classic Squeeze territory although with the exception of the XTC-ish 'Fall In Love Again' the latter half of disc seems to lose some of its creative steam - still good, just not nearly as memorable.

In Summary
A minor quibble and as a whole 'Dust & Fiction' is highly recommended since there are so few if any American bands playing in this style. Hardly prolific, now known as Rob Meany & Terramara the band gig frequently in the upper Midwest and have had a new album in the works for several years.

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