Open Cage. Definitions: What four guys in Philly do in their spare time. A guitar, a bass, some drums, one hell of a voice...and songs that don't suck. Infectious melodic rock, pure and simple. ----- REVIEWS: Got the disc and popped it right in. EXCELLENT! This one should definitely put you over the top!! Please remember me when you're rich and famous! Rocco MerfRadio, PA ----- Packed with enough hooks and melodies to make any SFKer happy, this PA band caught me totally by surprise. When I popped the disc in for a listen I was not in the best of moods and honestly wasn't expecting much. By the end of the first song my mood had swung and I was quickly grabbing the liners to find out more. The band calls itself 'infectious melodic rock' and that's about right on target but there are hints of modern pop thrown in as well. This band deserves exposure far beyond what I and various melodic press can give them. They really have the sound that seems to effortlessly blend genres and if this were on a major, I have no doubt it would be all over radio. Hit their website, buy this disc and spread it around. It could be big... [Similarities: Matchbox 20, Smithereens, Live] SFK, Striktly for Konnissuers ----- 'Evolve', the latest CD by pop/rock's Open Cage shows the evolution of their music and the strength of the bands ability to produce a hit album. All original songs, with Bill Sullivan as the main writer, give the listener many things to contemplate regarding love and life. The album starts out with a beautiful acoustic guitar piece that is peaceful and serene. This begins the 'evolution'. Then we move on.....to their power/pop sound with some very intelligent lyrics in 'The Last Thing'. One of my favorites is 'Give'...the music being so familiar and friendly with lyrics like: You give me light in a darkened room You give me space when I need to move You give me heart I know to be true You give me hope that someday I may give like you There is a sense in listening that Open Cage has grown tremendously as a band and as musicians. This is one of the most mature and beautiful 'pop' albums I have ever heard. They move from beautiful instrumentals to catchy songs that will remain fresh with each listen. They sing a lot about freedoms, life's daily struggles, and lovers' laments. Yet the sound is uplifting and the musicianship is outstanding. If you are familiar with Open Cage this has to be their best album to date. If you are not, give them a listen and I think you will agree their 'evolution' has just begun and we are in for a long ride! To The Bone ----- If I were looking to manage a Philadelphia original band, I'd make a pitch for Open Cage. They've got hooks, truly memorable songwriting and a definitive melodic niche. This is a band that's marketable without being mundane, and in a medium that makes a claim to be all about songs, Open Cage has more than enough horses under the hood. Guitarist Bill Sullivan (who also played in the noted Philly original band They Eat Their Young) is the main songwriter, as well as an exceptionally tight and inventive guitarist. Bassist Keith Messner (who has also worked in A Room With A View) is an active and tasteful player in the Geddy Lee (Rush) tradition. Drummer Chris Cemini provides a steady, driving foundation, and combined with the stunning vocals of Ray Burtoff, Open Cage makes for a very heady mix. With most good unsigned original bands, you listen to their best work, count on improvement as they acquire experience and more songs, and hope that they catch a break before they give up in frustration. Open Cage is different. Success for this band really does seem inevitable; the hooks and songs are that good. The only question is how big the splash will be, as well as who will be around to cash in when it happens. Dave Mountain Freelance Music Writer & Publicity Consultant for the Philadelphia Music Conference ----- It's always intriguing to approach an album by an unknown [to me] band - it's uncharted waters and an all new exploration. No preconceptions. And so it is with Open Cage and their latest album Evolve. The album starts with a gentle and evocative acoustic instrumental, Evolution, before the songs start with The Last Thing, a mid-tempo electric rocker. Give continues the acoustic feel and I'm beginning to see [or rather hear] reference markers: I guess the immediate one is REM - vocalist Ray Burtoff certainly reminds me of Michael Stipe in his phrasing - but I can also hear the Cars in the pop sensibilities of the songs and their short, concise timings. And while most of the songs have a mid-tempo feel to them, it's the full out rockers that appeal the most to me: Little Things sounds like a #1 single to me [if people still bought singles on the basis of quality over hype, that is]. Day Man excels with some sneakily entwining bass and guitar lines that add a definite funky feel to the track. I Just Don't Get It is the other rocker that impressed mightily. The album concludes with another fine acoustic instrumental, Escape. Instrumentally, Open Cage impress with a tight, clean sound: a funky bass [supplied by multi-instrumentalist Keith Messner], Byrds-style twelve-string guitar from Bill Sullivan, all deeply rooted in the rock-tight drumming of Chris Cemini. While this may come over to these British ears as west coast rock/soul-lite, there are all sorts of intimations that these boys have been listening a lot to the very best west coast bands of the 60s/70s. All told, Evolve is a varied and very fine album with some excellent musicianship and good songs, and if you are looking for something a little different then try Open Cage. John Peters from the UK ----- If you prefer your rock with a slightly more poppy edge like Cheap Trick mixed with the Rembrandts you might like Open Cage. AOR Basement.