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Somewhere In America
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Cornerstone
Somewhere In America
2012
Pop Rock
David Felix
www.cornerstone.co.at/
www.facebook.com/cornerstoneaustria

Rating:
3.5 Stars

It I got this CD a few months back but due to some personal issues forcing me to take a break from the website for a while and then compounded by other obligations, it kinda got put on the back-burner but I never forgot about it. So a few weeks ago I decided to revisit the latest release from Austria's CORNERSTONE entitled "Somewhere In America" and it's been giving me a headache ever since! Not because of the CD or music itself, just because I am having a really hard time trying to categorize this band into any one genre. Playing it safe would be to just simply say "rock" and be done with it, but this release offers so much more. The strongest element through out the release would definitely be that of 80's power-pop bands like SCANDAL or HEART, but there is also the moodiness and emotion of a band like QUARTERFLASH on some tracks and just to add to the confusion, at times there are elements of metal, blues, and even American adult-contemporary. So this one's been a little tough.

CORNERSTONE was actually founded way back in 1998 by bassist Michael Wachelhofer and his brother Steve on guitar. Over the years, the band has gone through numerous personnel changes. Their 2008 debut release "Head Over Heels" even featured a different vocalist and drummer but it wasn't till after their worldwide tour in support of the release that the band achieved what they consider their "optimum line-up" after recruiting drummer/ percussionist Mike Pawlowitsch and the beautiful Patricia Hillinger on lead vocals.

The CD opens with the heavy rocker "Stay" and I must admit, at this point I wasn't overly impressed. I mean the song itself is "good" and features some nice guitar licks and smooth harmonies in the chorus but to me, it isn't anything special that you haven't heard from just about any female-fronted rock band playing the local rock club on a Saturday night.

Then as the opening chords to "Rise And Shine" kicked in, I was expecting more of the same but to my delight, the song took a turn I wasn't expecting. Instead of the more harsh and sometimes even growling vocals of Hillinger on "Stay," her vocals are much softer and smoother showing where her true talent lies. This girl can really sing as she lets herself go allowing her beautiful vocals flow brilliantly over this mid-tempo rocker.

"Breathing For You" is easily my favorite track on the release. I absolutely love the echo effects of this moodier number which create that somber, lonely feeling as if you were sitting in a dark, quiet club somewhere. It kinda reminds me a bit of that early-80's QUARTERFLASH sound and again, Hillinger's vocals are simply flawless. Great, great tune all around.

"Right or Wrong" is another highlight of the release. This anthem-like ballad reminds me a bit of Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life" in the way the beautiful, piano-driven verse builds into a strong, emotion-filled chorus.

"Like A Stranger" kicks the CD back up more than just a few notches. I really like the rhythm and more melodic tempo of this one which shows that this band can still rock without being overly aggressive.

"Follow You, Follow Me" is a bit more laid back but still above average in its consistency while "Being Unaware" is a lighter, poppier number on the lines of SCANDAL's "Goodbye To You"... very light and "happy" is the only way I can describe it. "Oblivious" kinda tries to continue on in this same vein but the overall melody is lacking and even a bit weird  making it one of the weaker songs on the CD... pure filler.

"High and Low" rejuvenates the release as an up-tempo rocker featuring a really nice guitar break and a fast-paced melody and finally, "Strut" returns to that more moody style. This is another gem on the lines of "Breathing For You"... a bit darker and features a haunting chorus where you can almost feel the emotion and passion flowing through you as Hillinger supplies one of her best vocals on the release.

As a whole, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. This band definitely has some talent and could really go places, but they need to stay away from the "filler" and trying to stretch their style too much and stick to the more mid-tempo and moodier stuff they absolutely excel at. Nice sophomore release and will definitely be looking forward to more out of them in the future.

 


Band Lineup:
  • Patricia Hillinger - Lead Vocals
  • Michael Wachelhofer - Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
  • Steve Wachelhofer - Guitar, Backing Vocals
  • Mike Pawlowitsch - Percussion

 

Track Listing:
  1. Stay
  2. Rise And Shine
  3. Breathing For You
  4. Right Or Wrong
  5. Like A Stranger
  6. Follow You, Follow Me
  7. Being Unaware
  8. Oblivious
  9. High And Low
  10. Strut




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