Roark Break of Day

This is layered, melodic, ballad-esque pop rock that’s on the verge of beating down Justin Timberlake for a spot on the top 40 charts. It is semi-catchy, with good layers and inflections, but the vocals are so sugary high that it feels like this one-man operation (singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Brian O’Neal) has either inhaled an entire tank of helium before recording or he has yet to learn that singing at such a high register should be levelled out with some depth and resonance to keep the record from sounding like it was sung be a pre-pubescent choir boy. Given a year or two and a little time to develop his sound and add some maturity to his vocals, his strong points — musicianship, cohesive songwriting — could be showcased at their best.

(Love Minus Zero, www.loveminuszero.net) (Love Minus Zero)