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CD Review: Four and No More
Joe Whyte
I'm not one to write a happy love song. It's not like the songs are about gloom and doom either. - Joe Whyte
by Josh Davidson
 [Chorus and Verse] CD Review: The Joe White Squad "Four and No More"
Joe Whyte

The Joe Whyte Squad’s latest EP Four and No More contains simple songs with a rough edge. Whyte has a talent for giving a song a subtle twist, without turning away from its main musical or lyrical theme.

Whyte prefers a more reality-based lyrical approach when covering the topic of love. “I’m not one to write a happy love song,” said Whyte. “It’s not like the songs are about gloom and doom either.”

The CD’s four cuts are “Breath,” “Breaking Your Code,” “Town,” and “On and On.”

“Breaking Your Code,” which took about 15 minutes to write, has the melodic appeal of any recent radio hit. “Last summer I was playing and it just came out,” said Whyte. Audiences have been quick to express their satisfaction of the tune. “They just go nuts for it,” he said.

Joe Whyte

Whyte’s squad is a tight one that has obviously honed their chops. “Town” contains a bass line as catchy as its melody. Its drumbeat drives, but stays at right speed limit. The guitar leads are filled with song-complementing arpeggios and volume swells reminiscent of Tom Petty’s axe-slinger Mike Campbell.

The band has a spontaneous approach to songwriting. Whyte writes by messing around with his guitar and humming along until his different ideas become a song. “It sort of just happens,” he said. “It’s not like I sit down and say, ‘hey, I’ll write a song.’” Some of his songs have written themselves in five or ten minutes, while others don’t come so easy. “Sometimes I’ll agonize over finding the right phrase for two months,” he said.

The next step is bringing his band mates an acoustic guitar/vocal version of the song. Whyte said the songs usually become better after his band gets a hold of them. “Without them, the songs wouldn’t be what they are,” he said. Whyte’s vocals start from the mid-range and he strategically uses vocal vibrato to add more life and punch to his songs.

Many of his lyrics are like conversations with an ex-girlfriend: “Dizzy from just one day / Every word just giving off more radiation / A breathing holiday / I’m always saying I could use a small vacation” (from "Breaking Your Code"). Whyte has a knack for absorbing the world around him and presenting it as a mural of words and music.

Four and No More can be purchased through the band’s website, joewhyte.com, and cdbaby.com.

Josh Davidson
Josh Davidson has written music feature articles for Jersey Style and served as the Jersey Shore rock columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine. Other music writing credits include Aquarian Weekly, Jersey Beat, Backstreets and njcoast.com. He has written free-lance for the Asbury Park Press' Community Sports section and has written featured articles for its news section, as well as covering campus news and sports weekly for the Signal, the College of New Jersey's (formerly Trenton State College) student newspaper. He has worked as a staff writer for The Independent, and his work for Greater Media Newspapers has also been published in the News Transcript. He is a former beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer who presently is a news writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting the US Army's Knowledge Center. His music writing covers a vast range of topics, from the current cover band craze, highs and lows of the original scene, to the early days of the Jersey Shore rock scene in Asbury Park. He is also a musician, having written hundreds of songs as a singer/songwriter, and playing them out as a solo/acoustic artist. He has also played with cover bands, including It Doesn't Matter, and several original bands, including as the guitarist for the solo project of singer/songwriter Dave Eric. He continues to work on solo material and is presently the guitar player for Jersey Breeze.
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