Just what we need, another alternative emo-rock act. Or so I thought upon my first listen, nothing stood out. It sounded like a lot of other music currently getting play. But upon a few more listens it started to grow on me. Not so much as to make me think they are the next big thing, but there is more to it than a copy of everything else, although I can hear a variety of influences in the music.
A few of the acts that came to mind while listening to their self-titled debut were Incubus, Collective Soul, and Staind. They have a mellow type of energy flowing underneath the emo style lyrics. It was weird, the moment I popped the disk in and hit play, I was ready to write them off as just another faceless act on the radio landscape, but they are growing on me. The songs are catchy, the music may not be the most original I have heard but there is a voice in there which could break out, the lyrics have some depth to them. The influences stand out in the song structure and melody. They don’t seem to rely on studio tricks, the songs sound like they would translate well to a live environment.
Those who know me, know that I tend towards the heavier end of the music spectrum, but am open to experimenting in other genres. While this isn’t so much a genre shift so much as it is a tonal shift toward the more mainstream end of the dial, it does represent a departure for someone who tends to avoid the radio like the plague. The two promoted tracks, “Cold” and “Colors,” are good examples of the radio tracks, they have a groove to them and fall squarely in the mainstream, yet have a quality which makes them stand out.
Besides those two tracks, there were a few others which grabbed me. One of those is the heavier “Death Trend Setta,” which incorporates some heavy riffing and pseudo-rapping mixed in with his singing and lighter melodies to add some dimension to their sound. Another is “The Deep End” which strangely reminds me of Saigon Kick, particularly in the vocals which are very reminiscent here, and on other tracks, of Matt Kramer. The album has a nice flow all the way through culminating with the morose acoustic track “The Unknown.”
Surprisingly enough, I had not heard of them until recently. The album has been out for nearly a year now, and they have even been included on the last volume of the ubiquitous Now That’s What I Call Music collections. In addition to that they have been gaining lots of ground on the rock radio circuit. Still, due to my typical avoidance of the radio, I missed them until now. I’m glad to have found them. They have a sound which incorporates some of what appeals to my rock side, yet it has an emotional depth not found in many radio acts.
The band is made up of lead vocalist and singer Ed Sloan, who has a voice reminiscent of the days of Collective Soul and Saigon Kick, and guitar playing that is equal parts Staind and Linkin Park, drummer Brian Geiger whose steady backbeat keeps the flow of the album in combination with the bass lines of Mitch James. Rounding out the lineup is singer/DJ Tony Byroads who brings a subtle electronic edge to the band.
Bottomline. This album was a bit of a surprise, it didn’t hit the ball out of the park, but it is one that will get some play out of my stereo. One thing that I didn’t like was how short the album was. It may be good, but all of sudden it just stops, It’s a shame too. But that’s really a nitpick when good music is involved. If you like any of the bands mentioned above, I would recommend that you check this album out.
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