Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Group S/T

Cleveland-based singer-songwriter Taylor Lamborn is a pop-rock performer who is making a name for herself in the Greater Cleveland area. As a solo performing and recording artist in the area, Lamborn has been getting plenty of attention as she performs regularly. But about one year ago, Lamborn took a different path in the career as she also joined forces with three other musicians to create a band that features original music with a solid Rock ‘n’ Roll sound. Along with Taylor Lamborn on vocals, the rest of the relatively new ensemble consists of Luke Pernici on keys, guitar and vocals; Joe Botta on bass and vocals; and Dom Williams on drums and vocals. Together, this musical ensemble came to be known simply as Group. While the band’s moniker may leave much to be desired, Group’s music stands out as the band is a solid ensemble that creates some of the strongest Rock ‘n’ Roll in the Greater Cleveland area.

Group’s recently-released self-titled EP begins with the track “Trouble Sleeping”. As the track begins, the listener experiences the sound of Blues-flavored Rock ‘n’ Roll, a style that is rather hard to find in today’s musical landscape. As the band creates a strong driving feel to the music, Lamborn’s vocals are just as strong as she seems to come across as a modern-day Janis Joplin. Together, the strong vocals from Lamborn and the Blues-based Rock ‘n’ Roll from the rest of the band create a song that stands out when compared to the rest of the musical offering out there today; especially when comparing “Trouble Sleeping” to the majority of what makes its way to Top 40 radio today.

The self-titled release from Cleveland’s Group continues with the track “Don’t Mind Me”. It is the sound of Luke Pernici’s guitar that starts the song off with a strong and catchy riff. That Blues-filled riff is soon joined by Taylor Lamborn’s bluesy vocals. The two create a musical approach that is filled to overflowing with a Blues sound. When the drums from Dom Williams and bass from Joe Botta join in, the track becomes equal parts Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll. The track is very infectious and the groove created by the band almost begs the listener to get up and dance. “Don’t Mind Me” is even catchier than the EP’s lead-off single of “Trouble Sleeping”.

After two tracks that allow Group to show off their Rock ‘n’ Roll side, the band changes the direction of the next track. With the song “Happy,” Group incorporates generous amounts of both Jazz and R&B into the one song on the self-titled release from the band that stands apart from the other four tracks. Along with the different musical approach, the song also features the keys from Luke Pernici instead of his guitar that was so present in the first two songs on the EP. The resulting track of “Happy” is so different that it feels like a completely band. And while that is the case, that change in style and sound proves just how capable and versatile the three musicians and Lamborn are as an ensemble.

The self-titled release from Cleveland’s band known as Group continues with the song “Tangles”. Just as soon as the band had changed pace for the song of “Happy,” The change directions again and bring back some of the Blues approach that was present on the first two tracks. For the song of “Tangles,” however, their approach feels a lot like something that could have been produced by someone like the band The Black Keys. On the track of “Tangles,” the guitar and the bass seem to have been recorded so that they are equally strong. The track feels more like an Alternative Rock track rather than a Blues-based Rock ‘n’ Roll track. Like “Happy” before it, “Tangles” stands out on the EP, but in a much different way. Group’s 2016 self-titled release comes to an end with the track “Maybe I”. With this song, the band once again changes directions. This time, however, they create a musical approach that seems very familiar. The pop-rock track with Lamborn’s vocals comes across as something that sounds like very much like something from the band No Doubt…when that band was at the top of their popularity. The pop-rock track of “Maybe I” from Group is perhaps the most radio-friendly song on the five-song EP.

Throughout the five tracks that make up the new EP from Cleveland’s Group, the band shows its versatility from one track to the next. And because they change their style from track-to-track, they leave no time for the listener to get bored. The five-song release from Group is a strong debut and only hints at what the band is capable of.

To check out the music of Group, click HERE for the band’s song “Don’t Mind Me”.

Click on the album cover below to check out the latest release from Group: