Lo-Fi Resistance is basically a one man band plus project. Randy McStine is the main force behind the music on ’A Deep Breath’. Helping him out is Nick DiVirgillio, who provides drums on all but two track and lead vocals “Too Simple”. Dave Meros of Spock’s Beard provides bass for that song as well. Other musicians include Bob Weinberger (flute, saxophone on “Too Simple”), Lloyd Landesman (synths & B3 solo on “Too Simple”), dUg Pinnick of King’s X (vocals, end lyrics on “Moral Disgrace”). There’s also a string section of Micah Banner-Baine (violin), Laura Hine (viola) and Jim Glasgow (cello). Randy along with Micah are responsible for the string arrangements.
The album starts off with an intro piece, “The Grand Design?” (1:23), that contains various sound effect and segues right into the infectious pop vibe of “Hello New Star!” (3:06).”Hello New Star!” reminds me of several bands and artists like Jellyfish, Kevin Gilbert and Todd Rundgren’s poppier side, to name a few.
The vibe continues with “Embrace” (5:29), while having a more rocking nature to it in places. The main part has Randy’s vocals, piano and some other musical sounds. This is the first song that I was drawn to. I’m not sure why, maybe the excellent arrangements and song writing has something to do with it.
Next is a song with an unusual title ,“.” (5:39). This song has a harder edged feel to it. I’m reminded of King’s X here and at first I thought dUg was singing until I recognized randy’s vocal pattern. There’s also moments of trippy psychedelic vocals. This would make a great lead single within the hard rock genre. I’m also reminded in some parts of Kevin Gilbert, especially his work with his band Toy Matinee.
Starting with an acoustic guitar and some percussion “How It Works” (4:37) begins and morphs into a heavy rockin’ tune. The song has many changes while very easy to listen to. One part for me is when Randy sings “you think it’s impossible and scream into the sky” that send shivers up my spine. The music at this point is somewhat psychedelic and Beatlesque.
Another sound effect intro piece that segues right into “Simple” (0:49)
“Too Simple” (8:58). This has a guest vocalist named Nick DiVirgillio. I think the combination of Nick & Randy’s vocals seem to fit so perfectly. This has a somber pop based song with some acoustic guitar parts. It then goes through some psychedelic moments with some prog undertones.
This is also the longest song on the album as well as the most progressive sounding. This is one of my favorites of the album that I’m attracted to. There’s some excellent flue and saxophone playing on this as well. The saxophone parts remind me of King Crimson’s Ian McDonald. The B3 solo reminds me of what Steve Walsh provided in some of the famous and lesser known Kansas songs.
Randy returns to a simple acoustic pop song called “All We Have” (3:34). This is one of the most infectious songs I’ve heard this year. It grabs you and never lets go. This is perfect song writing here. I’m reminded again of Toy Matinee.
“On My Own” (4:20) is another infectious songs of the album. I can’t pinpoint the influence here but it just has such a familiar feeling to it. There are some dreamy vocal moments half way through. If I had to take a guess, I’d say it reminds me a little of the side project of King’s X called Platypus.
Now we have “Moral Disgrace” (6:33), while primarily Randy’s vocals it contains guest vocals from dUg Pinnick around the 5 minute mark. This is about the closest you can get to sounding like a King’s X song without being one. There’s some Beatlesque moments here as well.
Ending this amazing album is an acoustic based piece called “Wasted” (3:33). It contains some vocals with some reverb sound effects. It picks up to where it has the strings section adding a orchestral feel. There are some psychedelic moments too when the electric guitar parts take over.
So to sum it up, we have a perfect prog/pop balance while never becoming too pop. Fans of the aforementioned bands as well as melodic prog will need to add this album to their collection ASAP. This gets a high recommendation of an debut album as well as a essential release of 2010.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on October 26th, 2010