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Population 02 CD Cover
Image © 1999 Farren Music America 

The third release from Los Angeles based quartet Watsonville Patio is entitled Population 02 (Farren Music America (USA) FMA 0047). In addition to their latest release, the band (Janice Grube-vocals, Dylan Brock-guitar, William Venturelli-bass and Josh Vazquez-drums) recorded, produced and financed two prior albums: a self-titled album in 1996 and the second in 1998, entitled Hotel Roselynn. Formed in 1994, Watsonville Patio is fronted by Janice Grube, a stunning young woman and excellent female vocalist from New Jersey, whose voice can most closely be compared to a young Stevie Nicks. The band are selling a lot of their albums in west coast shops and at their live performances.

The band's latest release features eleven alternative rock tracks that illustrate superiour songwriting and performing skills honed over three years of constant touring. With an upbeat light rock style with a slight country edge, their sound might be compared to 10,000 Maniacs, R.E.M., Fleetwood Mac or maybe even Grey Eye Glances. Soundbites can be heard at their mp3.com website. You can order the album at amazon.com here or their prior album Hotel Roselynn here.

The album's tracks are mostly highly accessible, alternative rock numbers. Janice's warm vocals are mixed way up throughout, on top of the guitars. The album has an almost immediate catch with it's pop-country crossover opening track "Charmed." The bluesy sound of "Changed Your Mind" and "Misery" is balanced by a melodic chorus with tremendous vocals. "First Stop Tucson" is certainly the most country and western sounding number on the album. Several of Dylan Brock's guitar solos are especially notable.

The album's ballads include the certain favourite "When Bells Ring," the sensitive almost country "Chains Are Broken." "Over Westside" is a moving number that sounds like 10,000 Maniacs ("More Than This") combined with the vocals of Fleetwood Mac. The 10,000 Maniacs rocking side is also heard in in Watsonville Patio's "Perfect Combination." While Janice Grube's voice sounds a lot like Stevie Nicks throughout, perhaps it is most evident in the sensitively sung ballad "Into The Mystic" and sounds most sweet when accompanied by acoustic guitar alone in "Let It Be Me." The album concludes with another ballad laced with heavy electric guitar entitled "Tell Me Why."

With strength derived from their dynamism, pop sensibilities and folk-flavoured melodiousness, this third album from Watsonville Patio with Janice Grube's tremendous lead vocals is an easy album to get into—a very nice listen.

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