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The Critics Corner: Albums
Curtis Peoples | Rock Out And Stay Awhile
California talent crafts gem of a full-length debut
Name: Rock Out! And Stay Awhile
Label: Control Group
Release Date: June 20, 2006
Rating: 4.75 out of 5

Review written by: Alan Ho

Curtis Peoples may just well be music's best kept secret, despite having Maverick recording artist Tyler Hilton as a best friend and roommate and a legion of ardent followers from coast to coast and countless tours to promote his music, not to mention his major presence on Myspace.

Curtis's 'Rock Out and Stay Awhile' is his full-length debut and still has yet to be signed to a label. But those who haven't gotten themselves a copy and expect it to be much like his EP, 'Whisper To A Scream' will be mistaken. His full-length LP is very much like the title of the album, plenty of rocking out and you better stay for a while. Curtis trades in the simple sound from 'Whisper' and replaces it with harder, but more lush sound, adding electric guitar and bass and drums, which complements his gravelly rasp much better than the comparatively stripped down sound of the EP.

'Rock Out' begins with a bang with the uptempo 'One More Time,' which saw plenty of airtime on Myspace before the release of the CD. He slows down with 'Too Late,' which kind of sounded like Five For Fighting with the piano driving the song. I really like the refrain, I found myself tapping my feet to the drum instrumentation.

After 'Carnival,' he goes full throttle with co-producers and band The Weight on 'Hollywood Veins' and really shows off the maturation process Curtis has underwent since 'Whisper to a Scream.' I really liked the full lush sound 'Hollywood' had to offer.

My favorite track is 'Heart Will Fall' as it really showcased not only Curtis' lyrical talent, where the song's lyrics really spoke to the heart but also his ability to arrange. The electric guitar solo for the first few notes almost sounded like AC/DC's 'Back In Black' and I liked how he used the electric overall. Curtis then starts waxing philosophical and gets sentimental on 'Write A Long Love Letter,' but it's probably one of the weaker songs on the album. It's your standard weep-fest that every singer-songwriter does to fill the time, where the subject is writing to their loved one about their battles and how much they miss them. Curtis is effective at conveying the subject matter, but I think he could have done better to not make it your standard weep-fest.

Curtis strangely goes back to back on questionable material with 'Turn Away,' but tell me if I'm wrong, but it seemed that his vocals weren't going in the same direction as his instrumentation. Hopefully, he does not make the same mistake again on his next album.

The album ends on a magnificent note with 'Seems Like 4ever.' On the surface it may be another standard song about broken relationships, but he goes much deeper than the standard 'I don't wanna be with you ever again!' spiel. He sort of let you remember the smaller things in relationships and how things can't be answered by constantly fighting over pointless things in life. This song maybe about as close as you can get to anything he put out in 'Whisper to a Scream.'

There is a hidden track on the CD for those who either just bought it or got it through pre-order, 'So Long,' but I'll let the listener find how good the track really is instead of hearing it from me. Unfortunately for me, 'So Long' was not on my advance copy and I had to get it from one of my fellow staff.
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