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Album: The New Left: Let Go EP
Street Date: October 29, 2004
Length: 22:39
Rating: 3stars
Reviewed by: Shelley

The New Left (TNL) may not sound like a familiar band to most, but one of its members is the lead guitarist of matchbox twenty, Kyle Cook. Kyle, two buddies from high school, and a friend of one of them, came together to form TNL. As an avid fan of matchbox twenty for a little over 8 years now, I was both excited and skeptical to hear TNL's music.

1. Overboard - This song was released to radio as a single in markets mostly in the Northeast/Midwest of the country. This track is one of the louder ones, but works really well. Lyrically, the words flow quite easily, making it the simplest song to learn from the first few listens. If you're looking for a song to sing at the top of your lungs, this is it. Kyle sings, "Now I just need a quick fix/Maybe more cocaine/One more to shut down the pain," which is reminiscent of his younger days, when he did try to "shut down the pain." Who hasn't attempted to do that in their own lives?

2. The Dotted Line - This song sounds a bit different, mostly because Kyle leaves the singing up to Eamon Ryland, who sings in the band as well. This track isn't horrible, but it sounds so unlike the rest that it sticks out like a sore thumb. There really should have been another song on the EP, showcasing what Eamon can do as a vocalist to make this song fit.

3. Windup Girl - This track vaguely reminds me of a matchbox twenty song that Kyle should be singing lead on. Country undertones can be heard throughout the song. This song is quite mellow, but again, showcases Kyle's very natural and beautiful voice. One cannot mistake the presence of layered instruments and electric guitars - all adding to the effect of a song representing loss.

4. Tease Me - So many words can be used to describe the way this song makes you feel: jazzy, sexy, naughty, you name it. Kyle croons, "Don't it get you off/Feeling high enough/Oughta put you in a magazine/I thought it left you/Feeling fine enough to tease." This track has the ability to make you sway and feel sexy - I can definitely see this as a song being used in a strip club, based solely on the progression of the music and the chorus.

5. Should Have Let Go - You cannot mistake the bluesy tones of this song - upon listening, you can place yourself in a small club, surrounded by smoke and hazy lights. The focus here is on what the band can do with their instruments and the message that Kyle is trying to get across to the listener. The song begins with a synthesized-sounding voice spouting, "I lie awake at night totally consumed/ I lie awake until sunlight fills the room." The song alternates between the synthesized voice and Kyle's regular voice. It adds a dramatic effect to what the words are trying to convey to the listener. Halfway through the song, there's an awesome guitar bridge that has Kyle Cook's signature sound written all over it.

6. Cecelia - Even though this track is the shortest on the EP (2:55), it doesn't let you down. It somehow manages to pack in everything you want from a ballad. The song is purely piano-driven, allowing the song to be simple, but beautiful all at the same time. The lyrics are sincere and Kyle's voice is pure passion.

As if playing lead guitar for one hit-making rock band wasn't enough, Cook has thrown the whole of his talent into The New Left's debut EP. A group of old friends has rarely sounded this fresh. The only downfall to hearing this EP is that there are only 6 songs - The New Left knew what they were doing when including the track "Tease Me," because that's exactly what they've done.

www.thenewleft.com


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