Continuing the journey into full-blown soft rock Five for Fighting began on 2006's Two Lights, 2009's Slice takes its title from a Don McLean "American Pie" allusion and its sound from early-'70s Billy Joel and, especially, Elton John, whose grandly orchestrated albums with Paul Buckmaster provide a touchstone for this, John Ondrasik's fifth collection of originals. Indebted as he is to the past, he is indeed a man of his time, well-manicured and polite, never coloring outside of the lines, but this inherent good nature serves him better on Slice than it did on his early recordings because the emphasis is on the sound, not his quivering sincerity. Each song is richly, fully arranged, placing an emphasis on his symphonic soft rock, and in pure musical terms, this is his most appealing set of songs to date, precisely because it pushes his melodies, not lyrics, to the forefront. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

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