Something Like Sound

Author Archive

Album Review: Maserati – Passages

by on Sep.16, 2009, under Album Reviews

Background
Coley Dennis, Matthew Cherry, Steven Scarborough, and Phillip Horan started the band Maserati in 2000 while living in Athens, Georgia. In 2001, the band self-released their first album, 37:29:24, followed by The Language of Cities (2002) and Confines of Heat EP (2003) which were both released on the indie label Kindercore. The band then signed with Temporary Residence and released Inventions for the New Season in 2007 and their latest album, Passages, in 2009.

Maserati can best be described as post-rock, but has also been described as progressive-rock and perhaps even psychedelic. The most noticeable attribute of this genre is the lack of singing; it is usually completely instrumental based music.

Memorable Song
A very predictable and repetitious melody conveys most of “Thieves” but it is strangely attracting. There is nothing definite that separates this song from the rest except that it has a slightly darker sound. On an album that is light and has a sound that correlates to a dance/techno style, this track offers something a little more mysterious. The change is the best part of this song and is exacerbated by the monotony found on the rest of the album.

Least Favorite Song
“The World Outside (The Loving Hand Remix)” is composed of various sections. There are odd pauses and weird buzzing sounds as well as strange human noises. The song does not seem to fit together and is very jerky, but maybe that is what the band was intending. Given the context and style of the rest of the album, the song just does not fit.

In Closing
The post-rock genre is one that has many slight variations that are impossibly hard to quantify. How does one album become better than another? There are many stylistic changes between bands, some rely on heavier drums, and others prefer to focus on varying the sounds produced by a guitar. Only truly devoted followers of post-rock bands are able to pinpoint what makes a specific band or album great. To most, all albums sound the same, neither terrible nor tremendous. This album fits into that category; there is a lack of musical complexity and variety that is present elsewhere in the genre.

Many of the rhythms employed by each instrument on different tracks are very similar and the variance in key signatures and even notes throughout a particular song are absent. One highlight of the album is the presence of good dynamic changes; swells of volume allow the music to not become too mundane. Overall, if you are not a fan of post-rock, this album has nothing that will change your opinion; if you are a fan, this album might or might not interest you, again, preference will decide.

Leave a Comment :, more...

Album Review: Dear Diary

by on Apr.21, 2009, under Album Reviews

Background

Lead singer Trevor McNevan and drummer Steve Augustine from the band Thousand Foot Krutch (TFK) decided to experiment with a different style and formed the band FM Static. Straying from the hard rock exhibited by TFK, the purpose of FM Static was to relate to the teenage audience through punk style and lyrics that appealed to that stage in life. Widely praised and arguably their best album, What Are You Waiting For (2003) was an incredible entrance into the market. After the release of their first album, FM Static toured extensively for two years before making their second album, Critically Ashamed (2006). Another three years passed before the much anticipated album Dear Diary.

Memorable Song

Easily the most memorable and best all around song on this album is “Boy Meets Girl (and Vice Versa).” Immediately the song introduces a new style that has not been found on any of FM Static’s previous albums, it is a nice change. The song describes, as the title suggests, a boy and his interaction, or lack thereof, with a girl who “musta been sent from another planet/ break my concentration/ change my understanding/ cause until now I thought that all girls were the same.” It is one of those songs that all guys, and even girls in the opposite situation, can relate to, the highly awkward, yet enjoyable, meeting with that special girl.

Least Favorite Song

“The Shindig (Off to College)” is a fitting end to the record with the style and theme, an upbeat song reflecting on anticipation for the future; however, the lyrics are often weird and often do not make sense. That is really the only downside to the song and the record as a whole.

In Closing

As a concept album, Dear Diary obtains the desired effect: it is easy to imagine that all of the songs and their lyrics are about a boy figuring out who he is and where he is headed in life. Dear Diary is a fantastic escape from the reality of life. It is an album that will take you back to the glory years of high school letting the older generation reminisce of the decisions they made that shaped their morals and purpose in life and will provide support and insight for the younger generation currently trying to answer those questions that will determine their future.

The only drawback to the album is that the second half of the record is slower than most fans are accustomed to. This is a necessary change because the slow feel represents the times when a teen must contemplate the future and be serious about it, but a lot of fans might not catch on to the importance.

This is another great album from a great band that was started as a side project. There is not anything unique musically, nothing that is not found in other punk bands, and there is not anything tremendously advanced or difficult about the music, but Dear Diary is an album that is definitely going to be enjoyed.

Watch the album trailer here!

YouTube Preview Image
Leave a Comment :, more...

Album Review: Seasoned Eyes Were Beaming

by on Apr.15, 2009, under Album Reviews

Background
Sara Lov emerged from a troubled past to produce her first solo album Seasoned Eyes Were Beaming. After her parents divorced when she was a child, Sara was abducted by her father and taken to Israel before being later returned to the United States. The album reflects the emotional journey of her past and presents an optimistic view for a future that is there to be captured and enjoyed. Lov, along with Dustin O’Halloran, formed the pop duo Devics in 1998. After the group disbanded, Lov decided to produce this album, a compilation of airy, reminiscent tracks that was released March 17, 2009.

Memorable Song
The title track of this album is one that speaks of the remarkable perspective Lov exhibits in life. It is a track that demands the listener obtain a positive life outlook. “Seasoned Eyes Were Beaming” starts with the lyrics “I was born a warrior/ I came out in shining armor/ I fought the great war/ One that mattered.” The soft acoustic rhythms fuse with Lov’s delicate but confidant voice to produce a song that inspires, relaxes, and comforts at the same time.

Least Favorite Song
“Touched” is a strange song but one that still fits well on the album. The problem is that the song seems more like an intermediate phase on the album rather than an actual song. Most of the track is composed of slow, darker instrumentation with the incorporation of a cello in the background. Lov’s voice is a distinct part of the album and one that the listener expects and desires to hear but is absent throughout most of the track which is its biggest setback.

In Closing
Sara Lov, a singer and songwriter, has put together an album that is a joy to listen to. It is a mix of peaceful, relaxing, haunting, mystical sounds that combine into an album that displaces the stress and worry of life. With a voice similar to Norah Jones, Lov speaks hope for the future into listeners and compels them to reflect on the life lived, enjoying the blessings received and overlooking the wrongs that befell them. To label this record as only emotional and contemplative does not include the mastery of music required to portray these feelings. The combination of thoughtful lyrics, Lov’s soothing voice, and the heartwarming acoustic musical style form this album into one that will be listened to many times over.

Watch the video for “New York” here

YouTube Preview Image
Leave a Comment :, more...

Album Review: Innocence and Instinct

by on Feb.17, 2009, under Album Reviews

Background
In a time when memorable rock albums are hard to come by and bands that break the mold of mainstream appeal are ever scarcer, an album has appeared that redefines the traditional bounds of modern rock. Innocence and Instinct, released February 10, emphatically brought forth a style of passionate, instrumental rock that combined forceful screaming, memorable anthems, and driving guitar riffs accentuated by the epic feel obtained by the strings in the background. Red released their first album, End of Silence, in 2006; it was criticized as being too similar to Linkin Park. After extensive touring with bands Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin, Chevelle, Seether, Shinedown, Sevendust, Kutless, and Flyleaf, the band formulated its own unique sound while not straying too far from the style found on its debut album.

Memorable Song
“Shadows” is a song that captures the entire essence of the band. The track starts with a head thumping guitar riff that blends effortlessly into a mellow opening verse. The lyrics portray the struggles of a man faced with trials and calamity. His need for his lover is the answer that pulls the protagonist through the “shadows.” The chorus is perhaps the catchiest on the album and is followed by more of the heavy guitar and occasional passionate screaming. The song ends as abruptly as it began, paralleling the theme of the album: life is burdensome yet brief. A solid chorus, a perfect mix of hard and soft elements, and the occasional release found in the screams of lead singer Michael Barnes make this track one that embodies Red as a band.

Least Favorite Song
The album has only one true ballad, “Take it all Away,” which offers an odd ending to an album that embraces a much harder rock style. As is true for many great albums, the worst song is not particularly bad, simply one that gets set aside among more memorable ones. Even though the track seems somewhat out of place, it does offer a fitting finale to the album upon further investigation. The mellow instrumentation embraces the lyrics, pleading for the chaos of the world to be taken away. Much of the album centers on facing problems with force, symbolized by the driving guitar riffs. This track offers a glimpse behind the surface-level persona, which is portrayed by the softer sound and the vulnerable feel that the strings and piano provide. However, the intensity that is found on the rest of the album is not sacrificed with the mood change.

In Closing
Red’s sophomore album brings to the table so many elements that are lacking in most of the other rock albums. Passion is evident in Barnes’s vocals and the lyrics tackle difficult issues surrounding modern culture; this automatically raises the album above normalcy. The ingenious blend of rock and strings is nearly perfected on Innocence and Instinct, incorporating the strings into the middle of more songs would be the only area of improvement. Another slight problem with the album is that it is somewhat repetitive, there is not much variety of sound or style with the strings; however, the rock portions of the album are more diversified. Overall, this album is a pleasing anomaly in the world of modern rock.

Leave a Comment :, more...

Album Review: Tell It to the Volcano

by on Feb.09, 2009, under Album Reviews

Background

Phoenix band Miniature Tigers released two EP albums in 2008, White Magic and Black Magic, which were followed by the digital release of their full length album Tell it to the Volcano in late 2008 (February 17 is the projected hard copy release). Rolling Stone praised the band as “One of the best 25 bands on Myspace,” and Spin Magazine recognized the band as one of “The 9 Hottest New Bands Playing CMJ 2008.” Signed with Modern Art Records, Miniature Tigers, led by singer Charlie Brand, resemble The Beach Boys or The Beatles. Their sound embraces Hawaiian surf-pop and their lyrics are about longing for love and the pain and disappointment of love gone awry.

Forgettable Song

Rock bottom on this CD is “The Wolf,” a song that simply screams of absolute musical incompetence. The lyrics are mundane, repeating the same phrase, “Everybody’s looking at you/ everybody’s looking at you like they want to go home with you,” over and over and over again. The rest of the album remains in this vein, consistently disappointing with far too much repetition. Repeated lyrics are fine a couple of times but when they make up ninety percent of the song, it makes the track a complete disaster. The simplicity of the guitar and drums is comparable to any high school band’s capability with no more than three or four different chords played on guitar, and no more than the same number of different heads played on the drums.

Memorable Song

With very few bright spots on the album, the final track “Last Night’s Fake Blood” gives a glimmer of hope and offers a song that leaves the album with a somewhat less bitter taste. The track strays from the format of the previous few songs that had the chorus repeated ad nauseum, which turns out to be the only highlight of the track. The instrumentation stays the same with the acoustic playing the same three or so chords in the background and the same light hearted feel lends another repetitive element to the album.

In Closing

Tell it to the Volcano is an album that can appeal to certain listeners, but only a rare few. Fans of great bands like The Beach Boys and The Beatles will find this album absolutely appalling. While the legendary bands incorporated catchy tunes, memorable and more diverse lyrics with the same simple guitar and percussion in the background, their vocal talent and breath-taking harmonies were the focal point. People who do not like the surf style of music will absolutely abhor this album. Miniature Tigers has no better than mediocre vocals that often get drowned out by the less than interesting instrument lines in the background. This band lacks depth, musical talent, and any reason to listen to them. With many favorable reviews of the album, it might be a temptation to buy or even listen to this album. Don’t – it would be a devastating waste of time.

Leave a Comment :, more...

Album Review: Mine

by on Feb.02, 2009, under Album Reviews

Background

January 20, 2009, saw the release of a refreshing album by a relatively new Canadian artist, Matt York. Under the Streetlights was released in 2006 as York’s first album, Wedding Day with Grace (2008) was a fair sophomore effort accentuating his busy tour schedule, but Mine should attract even more attention to this very talented artist. With his acoustic/funk/jazz style and a voice reminiscent of John Mayer, widespread popularity should not be far off. Fans of Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, John Mayer, and Dave Matthew’s Band will thoroughly enjoy listening to this album and will remember a style that has nearly been forgotten in modern music.

Memorable Song

Reflecting on times of difficulty and trial. “Hard Days” shines even though it is one of the slower songs on the album. The lyrics transport the listener to a time when jobs were not guaranteed, when one had to struggle to make a living, when perseverance was lauded. He likens that time to the current economic hardships and implores the current generation to remember the trials of previous generations and to push through until better days. A children’s choir heard in the background aids York in capturing a feeling of desire for a better life which almost sounds like a mournful, but passionate, African spiritual.

Forgettable Song

“Give Me Love” is not necessarily a forgettable song, but one that might be ignored or seem slightly out of place on the album. The track starts off with an upbeat, funk-style intro which is only found on one other song. The rest of the song strays from the style of the intro which turns out to help the song but leads to more questions of why that intro was there in the first place. Most of the album is a slower tempo which makes the whole song seem somewhat distant from the rest of the record. York’s singing saves the odd start and the song winds up not being a terrible tune, but simply unmemorable.

In Closing

Starting with “Death Came a Knockin’,” a captivating a cappella tune, the album’s tone was set. Full of catchy tunes and stylistic changes, Mine is a great album for those who enjoy anything from acoustic to jazz to pop. This album is a collection of pleasing tunes from an under-recognized artist who has great musical ability and a love for grooving. Many appearances on a variety of tours around the country give fans the ability to see him live and York can also still be found playing in those clubs up in the northeast where he resides. Although Canada was the first to acknowledge the talent of Matt York, look for the America to catch on soon.

Leave a Comment :, more...

Album Review: For the Love of the Game

by on Jan.26, 2009, under Album Reviews

Background
Pillar is one of those bands that seems to have been around forever and seems to release an album nearly every year. This usually results in a lack of quality or a band that is simply that good. Pillar fits somewhere in the middle. Each of their previous eleven albums, some of which are re-releases and deluxe editions, have maintained a very high quality of production, song writing, and musical ability. Despite the amount of records produced, only a couple of Pillar’s albums stand out in the crowd of rock albums (Fireproof, Where Do We Go from Here). With each new album Pillar either slightly or dramatically shifts their musical style. From the rap-rock style of Above to the nu-metal of Fireproof to the hard rock of Where Do We Go from Here and The Reckoning to the calmer, yet passionate, hard rock of For the Love of the Game, Pillar has been all over the place. However, Pillar has yet to compromise great songwriting and undeniably catchy tunes.

Memorable Song
Surprisingly, the best song on this album is a ballad. For a rock band like Pillar this often spells disaster for the album. The opposite is the case in this instance; as the fifth track on the album, “Smiling Down” offers a fresh and powerful break from the head-banging rock offered on the first four tracks and introduces a new path for the album. Save one track, “The Runaway,” the rest of the album takes on a deeper, serious sound with more passionate lyrics and emotional musicianship. This track is a great intro to what turns into a fantastic second half of the album.

Forgettable Song
“The Runaway” is easily the worst song of the album because it seems vastly out of place after the captivating track before it, “Smiling Down.” With boring verses and a wandering chorus the track disrupts the flow provided from the previous tracks and after a ballad, the strange, peppy beat on the track ruins the aura. The track should have not made the record and the track following it, “Throwdown,” should have taken its place.

In Closing
During the first part of the album, driving beats fill most of the songs. Tracks like “Smiling Down,” “Get Back,” “I Fade Away,” and “Forever Starts Now” give a reprieve from the normalcy found on the previous tracks and offer a distinct and exceptional change to the album. The last song, “Forever Starts Now,” is a song that offers a tremendous climax to the album and leaves the listener wanting more. Pillar has yet again provided a solid album but one that is hard to place in the confusing direction Pillar has been going as a band. This album is a very pleasing listen with several songs that are hard to forget; hopefully their next album will show a more consistent direction as a band. Overall, this is one of Pillar’s best albums.

Leave a Comment :, more...

Album Review: The End is Not the End

by on Oct.06, 2008, under Album Reviews

Background:

Two years ago, House of Heroes released Say No More, which was a re-release of their self-titled album from 2005. After three seemingly endless years, they emerged with a fantastic album incorporating 14 tracks, an intro track, a hidden track, and an additional band member. House of Heroes started in 2002 when the band No Tagbacks renamed their group. The name change was meant to convey the band’s new approach. House of Heroes has since toured with other prominent pop-rock bands such as Relient K and MxPx and has consistently written and recorded catchy, unforgettable tunes.

Favorite Song:

“Field of Daggers” begins with a military cadence and takes on a somewhat eerie style. The chorus picks up with a driving rock beat that once again melds into the mystical feel on the next verse. Harmonies reign, the guitar elevates the track to its crescendo and after a brief suspension. Finally, the track ends with another series of rock riffs. Directly after the main part of the song, there is an instrumental section that forgoes vocals and lets the slow serenity deepen the sense of awe provided by the track.

Forgettable Song:

“The Young and the Brutal”, the hidden track on the album, immediately follows “Field of Daggers” and is a somewhat poor ending to this fantastic record. The punk-rock style seems out of place after the drama and emotion of the preceding track. It is not a bad track, but one that is out of place in the album and one that takes away from the prominence of the previous track, “Field of Daggers”.

In Closing:

The pop-rock genre has been in a rut in recent years with albums sounding more alike and lyrics remaining shallow. Out of the mire, The End is Not the End has arisen. Freshness emanates from the album that speaks endlessly of war and peace, love and hate. Offering perspectives from both sides of this moral debate, “By Your Side” claims there is honor in serving one’s country, fighting the enemy until death, but “Baby’s a Red” demands not only loving one’s own blood but also loving the enemy, describing a man’s love for a Communist. The depth of this album is staggering. The End is Not the End offers an almost magical blend of rock driven beats and an insatiable desire to question long held beliefs. This album will make you think and will make you listen again and again. It is that good.

Leave a Comment :, more...

Album Review: Make Some Noise

by on Sep.22, 2008, under Album Reviews

In 2005, at the age of 16, Krystal Meyers released a self-titled debut album that combined rock music with some acoustic flavoring. A year later she released Dying for a Heart, which had a much harder rock feel to it but also had many memorable anthems. Most recently, in 2008, Meyers released Make Some Noise, a record that created quite a stir on the pop/dance scene. Essential Records, under the production of Dubledutch (Mat Kearney, Toby Mac), ha found a very talented young artist, who began shaking up things up when Make Some Noise debuted at #20 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.

Favorite Song

There is a tie between “Make Some Noise” and “My Freedom” for the best song on this album. The title track is widely popular and is a superbly catchy tune. It has been used to promote the 2008 Olympic Games, as well as the fall lineups for both ABC and NBC. By calling the youth to rise up and make their voice heard and employing a fast and in-your-face beat, it is a tune that is hard to ignore. “My Freedom” is the only true ballad on album which serves to set it apart from the other songs. The change of pace can be felt immediately as the piano sets a beautiful backdrop for Meyers’s heavenly voice.

Forgettable Song

“Up to You” is slightly slower than most of the record, but is not nearly as captivating as “My Freedom.” Some of the vocals seem a little strained at times and the tune falls between the cracks of the highlight tracks of the album. This puts the song in a bad place, because most of the album comes across as stronger than “Up to You.”

In Closing

A huge shift in style appears to have suited Krystal Meyers well, proving that she is a versatile artist with a large fan base and a voice that grabs attention. Is she better at rock or the pop/dance genre? That question is nearly impossible to answer, simply leaving judgment to a matter of taste. This album is a vibrant and interesting addition to the collection of albums released by this ever-popular 20-year old. The future is full of promise for Meyers and fans will undoubtedly be eagerly awaiting her next album.

Leave a Comment :, more...

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!