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Etna Green - The Deeper the Roots, the Higher the Reach Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 7.5
Musicianship 6.5
Lyrics 7.25
Production 5.75
Creativity 6
Lasting Value 6.75
Reviewer Tilt 6
Final Verdict: 65%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.25
Musicianship 7.5
Lyrics 8.5
Production 6
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 8.25
Reviewer Tilt 8.5
Average: 79%
Inside AP.net

Etna Green - The Deeper the Roots, the Higher the Reach

Reviewed by: Gregory Robson (09/25/09)
Etna Green - The Deeper the Roots, the Higher the Reach
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: Dec. 22, 2008


Who?
Etna Green is a five-piece piano-rock band from Walkerton, a small town in Northern Indiana. The band draws their name from a small village not far from Walkerton. The group blends driving rock guitars, inspiring piano melodies with contemplative lyrics. The group formed in 2006 under the name This Time Tomorrow, but recruited a new bass player and re-established themselves in 2007 as Etna Green. The Deeper the Roots, the Higher the Reach is their debut record.

How is it?
Slightly above average, with lots of room for improvement. On paper, there is little reason to dismiss this Midwestern piano-pop collective. The quintet's version of rock n' roll introduces twinkling piano melodies, airy synths and driving guitar rock into an air-tight package that seems destined for success. Or is it?

Album opener "Tired" starts the disc with a sonic confidence and graceful charm that's welcoming and effective. Michael Morgan's vocals are sincere, passionate and empathetic. But then the band stumbles on second song "You Better Fall On Love Before You Fall in a Ditch," and Morgan's vocals are drowned out by the music and the poor execution comes across as sloppy and disjointed. Perhaps, maybe this is still a band in progress. The Hoosiers rebound mildly on "To Love as Winston Smith," but the entire structure feels like a carbon copy of "To Fall in a Ditch." While "Winston Smith," is certainly executed better, it's still doesn't do much to bolster the band's auspicious start. And then, things begin to fall in place. A series of three ballads, beginning with fourth song "Only Two Songs Left," establishes this band as passionate, emotive crooners that have an ability to write intricate, thought-provoking songs that are certain to inspire high school kids around the country. The most obvious example of this is seventh song "Titles and Deadlines, " a warm, touching ode to romance that's simple, commanding and achingly sweet.

The major problem with The Deeper the Roots, the Higher the Reach is that the uptempo songs fall apart within seconds. With the exception of the seven-minute "Fortunate We Crossed Your Path," the rock songs never come across with the polished confidence necessary to vault this band to any sort of substantial title. While the right formula is present, the execution comes across as novice and without seasoning. Though this can certainly be chalked up to freshmen mistakes, there are plenty of bands with the same backstory making far more crisper debuts. That being said, the quintet can be proud of their slower songs as they certainly appear to be first-rate balladeers. Morgan is an effective vocalist that has an innate ability to capture the aching sentiments of a heartbroken loner pining for his flame. Wearing his Augustana influences on their sleeve, there are quite a few times he inserts some Layusian projection in his intonations and while most bands would get called out for this tactic, for some reason it seems to work rather well on this effort. Additionally, Murray also seems to observe the word with an acute eye for detail and that is certainly something that will propel this band forward in the years to come. For now though, there are a good many kinks still needing to be worked out. In the end, Etna Green is still a few rungs short on the proverbial ladder of libations.

Track Listing 1. Tired (4:14)
2. You Better Fall in Love Before (4:35)
3. To Love as Winston Smith (5:20)
4. Only Two Songs Left (4:55)
5. She Don't (4:09)
6. I'll Leave the Lights On (3:54)
7. Titles and Deadlines (4:03)
8. Parachute (4:25)
9. The Ebb and the Flow (3:52)
10. Fortunate We Crossed Your Path (7:06)
11. Parachute (acoustic) (4:58)


Etna Green is Michael Morgan: piano, vocals, synth, acoustic guitar
Ethan Marosz: guitar, synth, vocals
Dave Morgan: guitar, vocals
Matt Kuzmicz: bass, glockenspiel
Matt Frazier: drums, kettle


Recommended If You Like Jack's Mannequin, Augustana, The Rocket Summer, Copeland


Visit Them Here Myspace
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Displaying posts 1 - 7 of 7.
07:39 AM on 09/25/09
#2
PaperRival-Jake
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The music on their myspace player is not my bag. Misguided lyrics, throw-away synth riffs that I hate to say sound better in worse bands music, and a "try too hard" vocal style that seems to want to impress women more than express his actual point.
07:44 AM on 09/25/09
#3
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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The music on their myspace player is not my bag. Misguided lyrics, throw-away synth riffs that I hate to say sound better in worse bands music, and a "try too hard" vocal style that seems to want to impress women more than express his actual point.
Methinks you might be right. And it's frustrating too, because these are truly good, honest people. They're great dudes, I just expected a lot more from this.
08:30 AM on 09/25/09
#4
mfrazier35
Drummer. Designer. Music Lover.
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Thanks for the review Gregory. This is Matt, the drummer. I figured you wouldn't like the CD that much but I wanted a non-biased opinion and that's what I got. ha.
I'd just like to say that we're not completely happy with the production of the CD either. We never even recorded harmony vocal parts. So try to imagine harmonies in there. ha.
Hopefully our next CD (which has completely different sounding, more original songs) will be produced better.
Again, thanks for reviewing us. A little constructive criticism never hurt anyone. ha
08:41 AM on 09/25/09
#5
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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Thanks for the review Gregory. This is Matt, the drummer. I figured you wouldnt like the CD that much but I wanted a non-biased opinion and thats what I got. ha.
I'd just like to say that we're not completly happy with the production of the CD either, Hopefully our next CD (which has completly different sounding, more original songs) will be produced better.
Again, thanks for reviewing us. A little constructive critisism never hurt anyone. ha
Thank you for taking it so well. And I'm glad I'm not the only one disappointed by the production. Ya'all are on the right track. I'm sure the kinks will get ironed out in time. I'm looking forward to that upcoming release, and thank you again for being such a sport. Considering that there are some musicians out there who turn defensive, petty and childish when their work is criticized, its refreshing to have someone receive something with such candor. It certainly says a lot about your professionalism. So cheers.
11:00 AM on 09/25/09
#6
inthemidst
Grace and Peace
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Great review, Greg!
07:11 AM on 09/28/09
#7
mattdbf
Divided by Friday
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saw these guys at cornerstone this year. it was a tiny stage in a really intimate setting (maybe 30 or so people) but they brought it. i stuck around to hear them say their name, then saved it into my phone and listened intently when i got home. haven't checked out this entire disc but im definitely gonna give it a shot.
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