Relative newcomers to the local scene, Cry Fire recently unofficially released its first effort, Strangers, via the pay-what-you-will Internet model; the official release show will occur Fri., Oct. 17 at the Rex Theatre. The album comprises some Triple-A radio-friendly rock and louder work that fuses melodic emo (think Sunny Day Real Estate) with melodramatic '80s-style balladry (face it -- those two genres were bound to fuse at some point).
Singer Nathaniel Minto's vocals are notably strong, a fact that likely adds to the band's mainstream appeal while perhaps making it sound a bit too good -- too polished -- for an indie crowd used to more wavering and insecure vocals.
At times it feels like the range of the album is a bit too far-reaching; for one record to include vocals-based pop rock, harder-edged guitar jams and just a little bit of jazz fusion (as in the track "For Robots, By Robots") might be a bit much. It's not necessarily a problem for a band to try covering as much ground as Cry Fire does, but as an album, Strangers feels slightly fractious for the attempt.
A little effort to flesh out one particular sound -- even if it means moving onto a slightly different style once that sound has been mastered -- might benefit this young band. But that's not a surprising issue for a first release. To take on the big pond that is radio-friendly rock, Cry Fire will want to hone a bit, but the band's not lacking the talent -- or ideas -- to get it done.