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Check out some of the ExMogul Music reviews from the archives, below.

I reviewed music on and off for about 15 years, while I took a break from singing and doing gigs.

Now I've flipped that around. And here's my band, SPEED LIMIT 70.

June 22, 2008

Ross Royce

Oh yeah. This is rock and roll baby. Let's do this thing. (Mrs. Vain)

Ross Royce's myspace page opens with "That's Not Me" which brings to mind elements of 1970s David Bowie and similar-era Kinks' tunes. Like both of those artists, Ross Royce expresses a lot in misleadingly simple lyrics. The song features nice surf guitar stylings over some vocal narrative rambling and laughter, ala Pink Floyd on Dark Side of the Moon.

With lyrics that read: "Are you really gonna whip me, are you gonna make me moan? I think you're really, really wanting to really, really rock n' roll..." it's no surprise that "Mrs. Vain" has a rough edge that is driving, a guitar that is distorted, and a vocal style - again very reminiscent of David Bowie - that alternates between talky shouts and smarmy sung lines. A fat and funky keyboard lick accompanies driving guitar chords during a musical break which works really well for the down and dirty element of the song. Segueing into a rotary chorus-y keyboard effect over some oohs and aahs, the song makes its point quite clearly. As Royce says in this opening line: this is rock and roll baby. Let's do this thing.

"Suzanne's Meditation" is a dreamy little ditty that brings to mind Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks' song "Sara". With no vocals, this is a mood setter, showing off the band's keyboard skills.

"Mixed Up World" is a driving and upbeat pop song with disgruntled lyrics - again bringing to mind the work of The Kinks, with their similarly unhappy pop ditties - I feel so plastic so lock me in a cage, I'm running around naked like I've got road rage. With its refrain "we live in a mixed up world," and a steady drum beat, the song communicates the non-stop feeling we have in our day to day world. Midsection of the song mimics sirens, features a plaintive scream and conveys noise, madness, endless interruptions.

"Get it Together" opens with quiet acoustic guitar strumming, and quickly turns harder edged with some distorted power chords, which carries the song until the final section of the song - when female vocals are introduced with great success. Not unlike Merry Clayton's contribution to the Rolling Stones' classic "Gimme Shelter", the singers at the end of "Get it Together" really make the song, and drive it to a nice conclusion.

"Rock and Roll is Gonna Soothe My Soul" is a straight-up, four chord rock and roll romp complete with drum solo mid-song, with Royce commanding us to "get up off your ass!" The song brings to mind the music of The Ramones, Ozzy, Bowie and MC5 - which gives it an irresistible old school feel.

Visit Ross Royce's website at: