Arts & Entertainment

Music review: 45th continues its quality sound

45th Parallel: take 2

Fans of alternative rock don't need to head halfway between the North Pole and the Equator for good music, but they should try listening to the 45th Parallel's second LP, take 2.

This fierce Richland trio is all about quality music that will tilt Earth's axis.

Beginning in 2003 as a four-man band, the group whittled itself down to three members, and lead singer Mike Rhodes stepped up as lead guitarist after founding member and co-songwriter Sam Nappi left the group in 2006.

Rhodes has a multifaceted voice reminiscent of Metallica frontman James Hetfield. A talented chameleon, he's able to effortlessly adapt to different styles. One moment, he'll be rocking out in So I, then he'll slow it down with a slightly melancholy tune in Deep. No matter the song, Rhodes is in tune with the overall feelings and messages of his songs.

On the guitar, Rhodes stretches his talents. Take Me Down dabbles with acoustic, then transitions into their normal electric sound.

Younger brother Rob Rhodes provides the drums and backup vocals. Rob demonstrates great control in Deep, with a reserved intensity that leaves listeners eagerly waiting for what he will do next. Perhaps it's their brotherly bond, but on Faded, the brothers play off each other, showing they have fun with their music and aren't afraid to tweak their sound. Rob doesn't get too fancy on the drums, but he does keep the energy high, setting the bar for his two bandmates.

Bassist Jason Wright recently replaced Mike Cook, who had to bow out. While Wright has carved out his own spot in the band since Cook's departure, listeners can't help but feel Cook's intensity on the album. Grinder is the kind of song that would play in a mobster movie where there's a slow chase. Cook gives the song that edge that makes it borderline creepy and dazzling.

For more information, or to order their LP, go to www.myspace.com/45thparallelband.

*Bethany Lee: 582-1465; blee@tricityherald.com

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