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Album Review: Digital Summer - 'Counting the Hours'

26 June 2010 | 1:09 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Phoenix upstarts deliver second album

Let’s face it that American hard rock style that borders between radio friendly with select doses of arena anthems and music that has a forceful, rough around the edges approach is commonplace in most musical circles today. Fundamentally it is a sound genre but history suggests the myriad of horrible ‘wannabe rock star’ bands that fill up the field inevitably diminish the style’s overall credibility. Arizona’s Digital Summer is one band that unfortunately has had their musical standing lessened by groups that fit the aforementioned claim. On ‘Counting the Hours’, Digital Summer is understandingly at pains to highlight their position as a group with obvious potential.

Yes, this type of music has a short shelf life and its impact in the long run will be minimal at best, however there is still enjoyment to be found on the Phoenix quintet’s second studio album. Without being carried away, there is some merit present or at least an attempt made. This sound, style and overall approach might be tried, true and essentially overused but when done with a little integrity still has an impact.

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Digital Summer put the bats away and stop beating the dead horse that is contemporary North American rock. Instead, on ‘Counting the Hours’ the listener is presented with a little ambition, musical endeavour and a thought process that distances itself from being a direct Staind or Nickelback ‘clone’.

Opening pair, ‘Counting the Hours’ and ‘Just Run’ demonstrate that the band appear most comfortable with heavier verse sections and clean, catchier choruses as opposed to anything more grand. Concurrently, ‘Today’ is a melodic affair that builds to another solid chorus. Other tracks worthy of mention include ‘Inside My Head’ and ‘So Beautiful, So Evil’.

A strong weakness however is that sixteen songs are simply too much for one album. Following the adage ‘less is more’ on most occasions works best.

Certainly nothing groundbreaking here. Nor, anything overly striking but if this genre is a personal preference or rather a ‘guilty pleasure’ then ‘Counting the Hours’ will be one of this year’s more promising and consistent offerings that deserves more attention that many of its more commercial peers receive. Worth a look in.

No revelations to be found on ‘Counting the Hours’. Anyone familiar with this style will know what to expect well before an initial listen. However, with a polished sound, prevalent spirit and a solid musical base – what ‘Counting the Hours’ lacks in innovation is more than made up for in effort and execution.

1. Counting the Hours

2. Just Run

3. Hostage

4. Playing the Saint

5. Shallow (Closer than the Angels)

6. Anybody Out There

7. Morphine

8. The Thrill

9. Rescue Me

10. Today

11. Inside My Head

12. Use Me

13. So Beautiful, So Evil

14. Not Even God

15. Something More

16. While the City Sleeps