by Devon McReynolds
Mmm, Southern nu rock, my most favorite genre! “I've never heard of such a thing!” you might be exclaiming to yourself. Well, neither had I, until I popped in Shane Hines and the Trance's latest album Zoe. The album art says it all—a gritty metal door/cage thing with an intense chain and padlock going across it, and the first song, “Joy Said,” rocks almost as much as a Creed/ Sum 41 mash-up would (if only such a thing could happen...). But wait—the next track, “On and On,” is more Elton John than Scott Stapp. Boy, that Shane Hines sure is versatile, and, according to his website, “his voice is an instrument so powerful it just might move mountains.”
Okay, time to cut the sarcasm. Zoe is so “versatile” that it is unfocused and confusing. The careless switching around of tempos, and even genres (sometimes within single songs) is distracting from Hines' decent voice, and even more decent backing band. The songs individually are mediocre, but nothing more than typical 3-chord structures with overly dramatized vocals. But on the slower, acoustic ballads, Hines restricts his voice considerably, making it unnecessarily “wispy,” and he pathetically tries to emulate Sting on “Let Go.” The individual parts that make up Zoe do have potential—catchy melodies, skillful musicians, and a singer with a commanding, clear voice. But, collected onto one album, the elements don't quite match up.