Alpha Rev – Bloom (2013)

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Making music of drama, risk and uplift, Alpha Rev sounds something like Mumford and Sons meets Coldplay — though the best of Bloom boasts an originality miles away from the latter.

The Austin-based group, fronted by Casey McPherson, has a way both with a rootsy groove (as on “Crystal Colorado,” which has sunlight leaking in from every corner) and with the story song (“Lonely Man,” which features a Vedder-y vocal quivering through a speghetti-western narrative). McPherson is just getting started, though, on the layered and complex Bloom, due on March 19, 2013.

“Eden Home” aches with a falsetto kind of pain, while “When You Gonna Run” finds McPherson reaching for a love just beyond his grasp. In quieter moments like “You Belong,” he explores a winningly delicate domesticity, too.

If tracks like “Lexington,” “Sing Loud” and “Highways” — each of which, admittedly, provide billowing imagery — careen a little too close to the anthematic template established by Chris Martin and Co., well, “Black Sky” leaves all of that intriguing artifice behind — diving into the bottom of a brown bottle of emotion, sounding as personal as those others do arena ready.

It’s the smaller moments that resonate the longest.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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