By Don Thrasher
Contributing Writer
Dayton Daily News 08-13-10

Progressive rock is a tag often placed on Cincinnati band The Infinity Ball. However singer and guitarist Rick Reed says that label isn’t entirely accurate.

“There certainly are progressive elements, but we’re more focused on songs and melody,” he said. “Whatever fusion elements you’re going to bring in, you want to that in a way that makes sense to the song and serves the songs. The only reason we don’t like progressive is simply because it tends to be more self-involved, or at least has that connotation.”

Although he bristles at the prog-rock label, Reed does take an open-minded approach to songwriting. Infinity Ball’s debut album, “Undressed for Success,” was released in May 2009 and reveals an adventurous pop-rock act that covers a vast sonic terrain without seeming unfocused. However, it’s more akin to David Byrne than Robert Fripp.

“I like to try to explore different musical styles,” Reed said. “I try to listen to a lot of jazz and different Latin rhythms to try to create a different feel.

“I didn’t want the album to sound like the same exact style all the way through, but I definitely wanted it to rock,” he continued. “Not to sound like an ‘80s hair band or something like that, but you definitely want to be able to kick it when you want. The main thing is you’ve got to have some dynamics.”

The band, rounded out by John Stickney (guitar, vocals), John Hoerr (bass, vocals) and Tom Jansing (drums), returns to Fraze Pavilion on Wednesday, Aug. 18.

“We played at Fraze last year for the first time, and it was great,” Reed said. “We’re doing their free-concert series again this year. It was definitely a good experience. Even though the weather didn’t cooperate particularly well, everything else was fantastic.”

While Infinity Ball varied the mood on “Undressed for Success,” on stage the focus is primarily on upbeat rockers.

“We’ll play a mixture of original music and cover material,” Reed said. “A fair number of covers will be reinterpreted in a way that makes sense to sound like who we are. The original stuff is very straight-ahead rock ‘n’ roll, sort of in the vein of Barenaked Ladies/LedZeppelin.

“Then people will hear some covers they’ll recognize, but are different,” he added. “And they’ll hear a substantial number of songs that are straight covers that people know. It’s just a good high energy rock ‘n’ roll show.”

- contact contributing arts and music writer Don Thrasher at donaldthrasher8@aol.com