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Yellow No. 5 

Yellow No. 5 (Spin World)

It's hard to dislike the down-to-earth guys in Yellow No. 5, an alternative rock act out of Lucas, Ohio, with realistic aspirations. They don't pretend to be rock stars and aren't ashamed of their day jobs -- one's a high school teacher, another works in telecommunications, and the other two have office jobs. In their bio, they say they want to devote all their time to the band and "get the fucking show on the road," but they're smart enough to know that it's best to work the regional market for the time being. Their self-titled debut, the follow-up to a demo called Ready to Roll, which the group started selling at shows three years ago, is a solid effort -- especially because the group plays a number of different styles and plays them remarkably well.

While there's a generic grunge element running through tracks such as "Sinking Down," "Take Your Face," and "Disciples," the group branches out and plays songs that aren't just loud and fast. "Echo Ding" isn't a particularly good song (the bellowing vocals ruin it), but it's a worthy attempt to add a string arrangement to the works. "Cosmic Riddle" is an infectious pop-punk number, "How Could I" is a tender acoustic ballad with unnerving vocals, and "Tree of Life," another ballad, features multiple vocal harmonies. Indeed, each song provides variation and suggests the band is comfortable playing vastly different styles. The closing track, "Universal Dance," is an atmospheric jam that runs on for five minutes, but its emphasis on a bland percussion workout unfortunately makes for an anticlimactic end to an otherwise strong showing.

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