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The goods

War Stories
War Stories
By War Stories

Self-released: 2007

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This review first appeared in the August 2, 2007 issue of the North County Times.

Hailing from the Inland Empire and San Diego, the members of War Stories have crafted a larger-than-life rock extravaganza on their debut CD. Hearkening to the sounds of early U2 mixed in with the dramatic excesses of the New Romantic movement of the 1980s, the band's self-titled album is full of the kinds of over-the-top refrains coupled to impossible-to-forget melodic hooks that could well propel this local quartet to national fame.

While the 10 songs here, all written by the band, are what defines War Stories, it's the confident, oversized singing of Evan Robinson that gives the band's music its color. Completely and utterly comfortable behind a mic, Robinson's singing is as polished, as well-shaped as that of any Top 10 artist on the charts today.

The other members of the band aren't exactly anonymous in their playing, but the instrumental approach to the music is one that emphasizes the overall sound – Reid Curby's guitar playing isn't marked by outrageous solos or memorable leads, but for the way he meshes into the totality of the band (as does Robinson's keyboard work, for that matter). Drummer Svend Lerche and bassist Paul Lizarraga are likewise noteworthy for how well their playing melds with that of their bandmates.

The result is a seamless, memorable album of art rock as good as anything happening in Southern California right now. The playing is solid, the songs are easy on the ears.

Whether War Stories become big stars will have as much to do with luck as talent – that's simply how life is. But with this album, they've proven they're good enough to take their place on the national stage.