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EP REVIEW: Universe - Chances
By Cyrus Rhodes - 07/23/2013 - 04:12 PM EDT

Artist: Universe
Album: Chances (EP)
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Alternative
Sounds Like: Weezer, Good Charlotte, Jimmy Eats World, Fall Out Boy, All American Rejects
Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 8/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: Orange Leaves,Chances
Weakness: Repetitive
CD Review: Universe is a 4-piece Alternative Rock / Pop Punk band from Chicago, Illinois formed in 2009 by Jamie Miller (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Paul Fleck (Vocals/Guitar), Chris Boyle (Bass) and Pierce Burke (Drums). Chances is available now on iTunes and Amazon.

The EP quickly kicks things off with rocking “Walk” an impressive intro piece that dishes out low end rock groove, with driving rhythms against a mean sounding guitar and hooky vocal harmonies. Infectious vocal hooks and phrasing from lead singer Jamie Miller making for a solid first impression delivering a grand slam chorus. Track 2 “Downin’ serves-up another strong piece of music combining melodic guitar ambience with raw vocal passion that methodically flows and ebbs its way through emotional fruition. Track 3 “Orange Leaves” presents more poppy, sing songy rock flair combining mesmerizing melodic guitar that leads you head first into an amazing vocal finale.  As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical textures reminiscent of classic Weezer, Good Charlotte, Jimmy Eats World, Fall Out Boy, All American Rejects, and just s splash of Postal Service. The music has everything you would expect from a 4 piece rock band - solid low end rock grooves, driving distorted rhythm guitar with catchy melodic vocals and even impressive solo guitar action. The vocal style itself of Miller goes down smooth and fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively. As the EP slowly reveals more and more to you its obvious Universe  is an accomplished rock band that is fun to listen to providing catchy melodies and a solid rock vibe. If these guys had a solid live presentation they would indeed be even more deadly. All songs themselves are solid across the board with the lyrical content that is short and sweet, even providing flashes of clever conventional wisdom. The EP ends with “Remember Me” the prefect final statement for an EP like this.

Song for song it’s fair to say this EP is just a bit repetitive sounding overall.

After checking out Chances EP by Universe I abandoned all hopes of finding any serious flaws. This latest EP is an impressive debut statement that clearly proves this band is a force to be reckoned with around the Chicago area. There’s really not a weak song on the EP. I would even go so far as to say 100% of this EP is radio friendly, possessing hit potential. I especially like how the songs hit hard yet still maintain strong marketability & melodic structure. All songs are all short and sweet musical experiences, and the overall production is world class. Go to their website you will find lots of cool things including a music video for the title track. I look forward to checking out more material from Universe - hopefully this summer.  

Cyrus Rhodes

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