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Modern Art Featuring Ted Poley

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Wednesday, December 19, 2018 @ 3:34 PM


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Modern ArtFeaturing Ted Poley
2018 Independent Release
http://www.ted-poley.com




While at first glance this album would seem to be a Ted Poley solo album, that isn't quite the accurate description. Rather, it is a collaboration between Poley and the melodic rock group DEGREED. As Poley described the effort, it is a passion project he's been working on for 3 years and not a "true" solo effort.

At times, it is a bit hard to decipher where Poley's work ends and DEGREED's begins. But in the case of most collaborative projects, I suppose that is the point.

The first thing I noted about the album is that the production on the material's sound has been polished to the nth degree. At times it works, but there are moments when you find yourself wishing there was a bit more of a livelier and organic feel to the music.

The album opens with "New World" and if you were to judge an album based on the opening track, you'd be disappointed. The song isn't all that bad but Poley's vocals are rather hushed in the mix and the entire song feels as if it is being restrained from busting out into something more electrifying.

A big annoyance for me was the way the album was sequenced as opposed to how it was listed on the back of the CD packaging. There are a number of songs out of order and it just seems a bit sloppy.

The actual 2nd song is "Gypsy At Heart" and the far stronger presence of Poley's vocals along with a more uptempo pace to the song make this one a winner. "Bury Me" is also an enjoyable rocker. "Out Of Control" ranges from slow to fast during the run time of the song and it's a solid inclusion on the disc.

There's a nice dose of killer guitar runs on the album, particularly with the solos. This helped keep the album from flagging entirely on songs like "What Kind Of Love", which featured a very messy sound that hurt the track and the entirely flat and uninspired "I Know A Liar".

Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention all the good stuff as well. The vibe and sound of "Running For The Light" was further enhanced by a solid set of lyrics. The vocals really grab you, whether during the slightly slower main passages or the zestier chorus of the song.

The ballad "Time" was wonderfully crafted. It opens slow with a piano threaded throughout the intro before the song just explodes out of the speakers during the chorus. It's not often that I rave about a ballad track, but this one was quite the earworm. I also was rather enamored with the closing track "Wilderness" that finds Poley sharing lead vocal duties with DEGREED singer/bassist Robin Eriksson. Not really a "duet" per se, but the intertwining of the two singers vocally was deftly employed and gave the track a little extra push.

Besides the previously mentioned "Bury Me" and the standout "Gypsy At Heart", I found that "Devil To My Angel" to be a surprisingly satisfying piece of music. The slicker production sound helps enliven the proceedings and adds rather than subtracts from the enjoyment factor with the song.

Before seeing Ted Poley doing a solo show earlier this year, I wouldn't have considered myself a fan. But his concert performance blew me away and I came away a converted fan. I'm not TOTALLY sold on this album because I think I'd much rather hear Poley have a more in your face rock and roll edge but I can't deny that I really liked the majority of this album. It's definitely aimed more towards the European melodic rock sound, but since I tend to enjoy that particular genre as well, Modern Art comes off as a fleshed out and highly entertaining embodiment of Poley's vision (with the deep involvement of DEGREED) for his passion project.

3.9 Out Of 5.0


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