If you judge Kousefly's Down By A Billion by its faux-metal cover art, you might expect late '90s-style rock. And while the local duo that has been gigging regularly around Bend for several years is anything but Godsmack wannabes, it takes several songs before the album realizes its direction. Songs like "Rain," "Pride," and the gospel-tinged "So Lovely" certainly show Down By A Billion to be more than unnecessary guitar noodling and forgettable musical ideas. Chalk it up to first-album jitters, but at times, Kousefly seems a bit unsure about how they want to sound and who they want to be as a band. The band works best when they explore folk-based harmonies and melodies over creative plucked strings, whistling and brush splashed drums.Chris Evans, Brian Hinderberger, and company give an honest effort on Down By A Billion and I couldn't be happier that Kousefly isn't another horrid hard rock group.
- Ethan Barrons