Good (Independent)

Waterband CD release party Matchhouse in Twinsburg Friday, March 14
The title of the Waterband's debut provides the most sterling example of truth in advertising since Kim Fowley released an album called I'm Bad. In fact, this Aurora-based trio (quartet, if you count guest percussionist David Keen) is just a tad shy of great.

For lack of a better way to pigeonhole these guys, we'll call them a jam band. Seems strange to do so, as most of the 18 songs come in at three to five minutes, but there's plenty of high-level musicianship: The guitar work sparkles, the rhythm section is outstanding, and all four bandmates play instruments identified only as "stuff" (horns and woodwinds, mainly), which impart a surprisingly fresh sound.

Where the Waterband is lacking is in the vocal department. David McDougald, Rick Phillips, and Keen can be better served by sticking to their instruments and finding a dynamic singer to frame their skills. Their songwriting is top-of-the-line, blending beauty, edginess, and humor. A gifted set of pipes would lift this contingent onto the A list of eclectic bands. They're so close.

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