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Small Town Dead
Bleeker Ridge
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Reviewed: 2/20/2011 by Mike

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Signed to Roadrunner, Bleeker Ridge’s debut album is currently only available in Canada but surely that will change and it will be released in the US and Europe such is its quality. Produced by Bob Marlette and featuring a co-write with Theory of a Deadman’s Tyler Connolly and several with L.A songwriter Dave Bassett, who so successfully collaborated with Brent Smith on the excellent Shinedown album ‘The Sound of Madness’, ‘Small Town Dead’ is such a mature debut album that it seems unbelievable that the average age of the band is only twenty. Indeed interest was shown in the band when they were merely fourteen, with both Marlette and Roadrunner A&R director Joe Kresta (then working in Universal’s marketing department) being impressed both with their live performances and their second independently released album ‘The Rain’. Both felt at the time that that they needed more time to grow and find their own identity, resulting in Kresta signing the band in 2009. Bleeker Ridge, unusually, feature two sets of Brothers and whereas this might not be much of a marketing point, there is no doubt that it has helped the band mold into an extremely tight unit. Bleeker Ridge peddles a gritty blend of modern melodic hard rock, radio friendly, and hook driven yet never throwaway. Songs like punchy opener ‘Pick Me Up’, ‘You Would’ve Liked It’ a mid-paced gem written by vocalist Taylor Perkins about his girlfriend and the blunt aggression of ‘Easier Today’ show a band at the top of their game. ‘Sick of You’-co-written with Tyler Connolly –is unsurprisingly very much like Theory Of a Deadman, whilst the pumping ‘Glorious’ successfully combines old school rock with modern dynamics, and that’s the attraction of Bleeker Ridge; being savvy enough to write great songs within a framework of edgy modern hard rock. Sure the special edition album may be a little overlong at fifteen songs but believe me every one has something to recommend it on this quite superb major label debut album that rates as one of 2010’s best.

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