Album Review: The Legal Matters – Chapter Three

This record is the third release from the Michigan trio. And this my third time writing a review of their material. Guess why? Because Andy Reed, Chris Richards and Keith Klingensmith have a demonstrated ability to write, play and sing highly melodic rockin’ tunes. The cheery “Light Up the Sky” hints that Chapter Three is going to be a certain kind of appealing rock. Pleasing as that tune may be, it only scratches at the surface of the group’s abilities.

“Independence Well Spent” has an uber-heavy riff that leads into a lilting tune. It’s the kind of music that easily transcends that rock subgenre I’m endeavoring to avoid mentioning here. The band’s intelligent use of analog-sounding synth lines here and there adds another layer to their guitar/bass/trio sound. And the genre-defying continues with tunes like “That’s All,” with spaghetti western guitar textures), the piano-centric “The Painter,” plaintive, Beach Boys-influenced pop of “Don’t Read Between the Lines,” weepy balladeering of “Pain,” and so on.

Throughout the album, the group’s wonderful close harmony work is always a treat. If your thing is melodic, midtempo rock a la Badfinger and Matthew Sweet, this album deserves a place in your collection. (The same is true for the band’s previous two albums.)