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I Digress

I'm still trying to figure out what Pompano Beach middle-of-the-road-rock outfit I Digress is referring to with its name. There really isn't much of a digression from anything on Justice, the group's straight-ahead, self-released debut. Standard midtempo power balladry dominates the disc, both of the axe-grinding, fist-pumping variety and also the more swishy-sweet acoustic strumming type. Sometimes, as in the case of "Letting Go," the two are smartly saddled side by side in the same tune, bound by Sheyenne Rivers' powerful vocals and John D'Angelo's versatile guitars. But among all these sustained, soaring vocals and foot-on-the-amp guitar solos, there are only a handful of truly memorable moments -- one of which is a cover of Bananarama's pegged-jeans anthem "Cruel Summer." Even given all the right parts, these songs just don't stick.

What I Digress lacks in originality or hookworthy songwriting it makes up for with abundantly professional production. It's clear the band's been working on this album for quite a while, and its continued presence on the live scene has allowed for ample practice and flawless execution. Chances are these guys are a stronger presence on stage than in the studio, as is the case with most by-the-numbers rock groups. Ready for airtime? Probably. South Florida rock radio oughta be looking for local groups like this one who can easily fill the holes within national-act-heavy playlists. That -- and on the plentiful outdoor stages at vanilla festivals across South Florida -- is where these guys belong. But I digress.

I Digress has a full calendar of gigs this month. The band plays with Trendkill at 10 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at the Factory, 2674 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; call 954-566-6331. It plays again at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 10, at the free, all-day Color Blind Festival at Meyer Amphitheater, 105 Evernia St.,West Palm Beach; call 561-248-3770. I Digress also plays for free every Friday in April at 7 p.m. at Seminole Paradise, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood; call 866-502-PLAY.

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Jonathan Zwickel

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