Sound — 9
This is Augustana's first album, All The Stars And Boulevards. Augustana is signed to Epic records. Their sound is flexable. Some of their songs are rock, some are softer, light rock. But all of their music displays a huge amount of talent. The first song on the CD, Mayfield, is a great example of the versatiliy of Augustana it opens with a strong riff, and then smoothly gliding into a graceful verse. Then it builds back up to a heavier, yet beautiful chorus. Augustana is great as a drums/bass/guitar/vocals band, but Dan Layus's piano sounds make the album truly grand. Piano adds so much flavor to a light alternative band. Drummer Justin South is far better than the average alternative drummer. He can play hard, but he also is wise enough to know how to step back and play great accents. Josiah Rosen and Dan Layus are both phenominal guitar players, with very hot solos and great riffs. Jared Palomar's bass lines are also very strong and pleasing to the ear.
Lyrics — 10
Dan Layus is an amazing singer. You can always hear the trueness in his voice. His lyrics are very strong, and his voice is gorgeous. He has an amazing vocal range, making each song a unique experience. While listening to the music, you can not help but to be moved emotionally by his deep lyrics. This emotion is further impressed upon you by how well Dan blends his voice with his piano and the guitars. On songs such as "Boston" his voice flows remarkably with the violin. Dan is an amazing singer, and he always has something insiteful to say in his songs, you won't find him singing about something that doesn't matter.
Overall Impression — 10
If you like Copeland, Death Cab for Cutie, or even Coldplay, you're sure to fall deeply in love with Augustana. As a first record, this album is out of this world. I've never heard such a great first album. From piano and vocal melodies that make you want to cry to perfectly placed guitar licks and solos, this album will take you to places that you never imagined. The title song, "Stars And Boulevards" is absolutly phenominal, and their hit song "Boston" is moving and skillful. Be sure to pick up this album. If you are into softer rock this is a must have, and if you aren't then this is great for chilling after a long day. This is one of my favortie albums, be sure to watch for more releases from this band!