CD Review: Prehab's "Light Up the Sky"

Written by Niki D'Andrea Category: Music Issue: August 2015
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prehabPhoenix-based rock band Prehab's newest album, Light Up the Sky, boasts some truly illuminating moments. It also stumbles on a couple songs, but show me a studio album by a single band that doesn't contain at least one meh moment, and I'll show you where Jimmy Hoffa's hiding out with D.B. Cooper and Elvis Presley.

The CD starts with the song “Wrong Door,” which sounds like a slightly drunk Tom Petty being backed by a Seattle grunge rock band – which actually sounds pretty good. But that's followed by the flat and somewhat sappy “Grand Canyon,” which is not about Arizona's largest geological wonder, but a metaphor for the divide between the rich and the poor. It's the type of tune best left to folk singers. Prehab makes up for that sonic misstep with the groovin' “Boy with the Matches,” which rocks an opening guitar riff and chorus melodies reminiscent of early Gin Blossoms. The singer's voice has a touch of Neil Young shakiness here that works well. “Amphetamine” is the most radio-friendly song on the album, a poppy little gem with a danceable drum beat and single-word, sing-along chorus. And while songs like “Pole,” with its burly guitars and almost-screaming punk rock vocals, and the formulaic '90s college rock-sounding “Cary Grant,” are easy to skip, others are worth immediate repeat listens – like “Carry This.” Sparkling, strummed acoustic guitars help carry this sparse ballad, borne only on six-strings, the singer's vocals, and ornamented by low cello strings and soft keyboards.

The audio is crisp and super slick, thanks to producer Owen Morris (Oasis, The Verve). All in all, this is a strong sonic showing from the four-piece band. It will be interesting to hear how their songs translate live. Catch Prehab on stage August 28, when they play Rockbar in Scottsdale with guests The Breakup Society and Darkness Dear Boy.