Sometimes a band with obvious influences gets pigeon-holed into being a “rip off” of their influences. Lansing’s Alco, who recently played their farewell show and no longer exist as a band, went out with a somewhat sonically familiar bang with their self-titled album.

I say “sonically familiar” for a couple reasons. Singer and piano player Justin Franks has a voice really reminiscent of Thom Yorke and/or Matt Bellamy from Muse. On “Someone Like You”, he croons out the chorus in a delicate, harmonious manner. He hits the high notes with ease. He also has an incredible piano playing ability. During the introduction of “Amnesia”, he brings about a classical-meets-rock piano playing style that seems a bit like Muse virtuoso Bellamy. Heck, the whole song has a Muse vibe.

The songs have an atmospheric and, at times, epic feel to them a la Coldplay or (again) Muse. I said earlier a band such as Alco, with their influences being warn essentially on their sleeves, makes it hard for the listener not to pigeonhole them. It’s not a bad thing in this case. Alco do a great job playing the kind of music they play. I love the energy they bring to their songs. They love what they do and it’s pretty obvious.

Guitar playing, courtesy of Shaun Spivak, is minimal and crisp, adding another ambient layer. Chapman stick player Chris Wood adds more ambiance with his playing as well. Jeff Twomley’s drumming is to the point and on time. No unnecessary fills and no going crazy. He does what needs to be done and that’s it. I love the cello playing courtesy of Jacqueline Douches. Instead of a bass, this is an interesting sight to see when they play live. On “Poisoning the Well”, her cello playing is heard loud and clear.

“Poisoning the Well” is the album’s standout song. Featuring a high-hat heavy drum beat via Twomley, Franks belts out a huge chorus and croons during the verses. The guitar line is catchy and adds a bit of subtly with the bends. I like it. Great song from this great group of musicians.

If you like the ambiance of Coldplay and/or the epic rock of Muse, check out their album. If there’s any album that was a final swansong for a band, this is definitely a great choice.