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Rocking out smartly

Sounds Like This
Sounds Like This
By Eric Hutchinson

Let's Break Records / Warner Bros.: 2008

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This review first appeared in Turbula in May 2008.

What Eric Hutchinson's debut CD, "Sounds Like This," sounds like is early Billy Joel, when Joel was still capable of rocking out yet was already writing smart, intelligent pop songs.

In his liner notes, Hutchinson (who plays piano and sings) points out that band, contractual and financial crises combined to delay the completion and release of this album for six years. Maybe that struggle is what forged such a complete album: He is confident in his vocals, the band is tight, the arrangements are clever (but not too much).

The 10 songs he's written include a couple gems: the reggae-tinged "Rock & Roll," "It Hasn't Been Long Enough" and the opening track, "OK, It's Alright With Me." But every song here is intriguing and melodic, with not one that could be classified as filler.