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CD review: Just Monroe 

The Deal: Monroe-based alt-rock trio releases its debut album, Everything for a Reason, on Six Cubic Feat Records.

The Good: Just Monroe's music is a straightforward rock with a bit of an edge at times – singer Danny K finds the right amount of rasp in choruses, such as on the opener, "Burning Me Down." "Break of Dawn" has enough of a hook and groove to it to give it commercial appeal. The band finds time for something more slow and emotional with "You Won't Remember." The acoustic ender, "The Laugh Heard 'Round the World," was a nice touch.

The Bad: I'm not sure if they're softly sung or if it's a matter of the mix, but too often I couldn't hear K's vocals. "Don't Ask Why" reminded me, lyrically, a little too much of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" – "Somewhere, over the rainbow, bluebirds fly. Birds fly over the rainbow, Why then – oh, why can't I?" vs. "All the little birdies in the sky, always flying oh so high, I'm wondering – could I?"

The Verdict: Another local band that sounds better live than in the studio – at times the album sounds too polished and, at others, too simplistic. Check them out on stage to hear the full force of the music in a setting that's not so "clean." It's a respectable debut to build on.

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