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Friday, December 18, 2009

Review: Gooding - The Return

Gooding - The Return
2010, S3 Records

Kansas native Gooding makes his living these days in Los Angeles; the songwriter/composer has a dozen albums under his belt and has scored elements for Walk The Line, The Animatrix, Children Of Men and Tourgasm. Gooding has also produced hundreds of artists and founded his own Indie Label, S3 Records. The prolific songwriter/singer/musician is back at in 2010 with The Return.

The Return opens with Make The Devil Cry, a quirky and vibrant rocker with edge. Gooding takes control right from the outset, helping to create a song that would make a memorable single. You can't listen to this song and not feel the urge to move. Go Kid Go is a catchy tune; a bit on the repetitive side but quirky and guitar-driven. Once again, try not to move when this song is playing. You can't sit still. Love Will Rule sounds calculated to gain Pop Radio airplay. The hooks are there, but this tune sounds a bit too crafted.

No One Gets Out Alive is a great listen featuring some nasty blues guitar licks. Gooding returns with the quirky edge that they opened the album with for one of the better tracks on The Return. Please is a pleading power ballad with a repetitive chorus and simplistic melody. Similar to Love Will Rule, this sounds more contrived than from the heart. Even the delivery is a little flat, missing the needful feeling the lyrics imply. Vagabond is a strong entry as well, combining a rootless song subject and telling a hard tale against the background of Poppy, upbeat-sounding music. After You finds Gooding moving more toward an electro-rock sound with dance beats; the song is successful as a transitional piece but the jury's out on the sound. I'm Not Listening sounds a bit like mid-90's U2, although perhaps a bit more melancholy than Bono might emote. Gooding closes with Animals All, another quirky Pop/Rocker with moderate commercial appeal.

Gooding seems to be at their best when they maintain their quirky, asymmetric Pop quality. The instances on The Return where Gooding perhaps writes more to a commercial sound stand out like a sore thumb as highly crafted attempts to fit in. Gooding's sound is a bit off the beaten path; and they are most enjoyable when following in their own footsteps. The Return is a strong album; definitely worth checking out.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Gooding at or You can download The Return for free for a limited time through a link on Gooding’s MySpace page. The Return will be commercially available in early 2010.

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