“After Midnight” starts with a small instrumental interlude that has electronic mixed vocals intertwined through the music until the first verse of the album are introduced. The band quickly establishes a gentle groove that allows the smooth vocals to shine. The chorus of this song is quite memorable and is paired with instrumental music that blends perfectly with the vocals. The band plays with minimal instrumentation throughout portions of the song to help the vocals stand out. This is effective, for it allows the audience to hear the vocalist’s style from the very beginning, which is important for a debut album for a band.
“Bittersweet” starts with vocals from the first downbeat of the selection. The vocals of this song start with more edge to them, which provides the audience with a variety of vocals and adds color to the album. The instrumental portion of this song follows a similar structure to the first work; however, the band presents different material, which keeps the audience interested. Through this tactic, the band establishes another groove that helps the audience remain interested in the song. In the middle of the selection, the band includes the chorus with minimal instrumentation to build into a louder refrain of those same phrases, which is successful, for it adds musical variety.
“Single Word” starts with a heavier instrumental interlude that is led by a strong guitar motive. The lead vocals soon join in, when they enter, the instrumental music dials down to a simple melodic idea that differs from the two previous tracks. The chorus of this selection is backed up with a more aggressive backtrack, which helps to push the momentum of the song forward. The band, in those small sections, gives the audience additional musical variety, which enables the audience to see other types of music, in this genre, that they are capable of. Building off that, the band, towards the end of the selection, includes their first breakdown of the album, which fades to nothing before reinstating the chorus.
“Cold Shoulders” starts with another heavy introduction lead by a guitar motif that is paired nicely with the band’s percussive elements. The vocals that add in soon after are a mix of the clean, smooth vocals that are prominent in the first few selections and the rawer vocals of the third selection. When listening to the chorus of this selection, it is noticeable that it is quite memorable, but it also blends the two previous styles that the band has introduced to their audience. This is a foreseen favorite of the album because it falls on the line of genres, and it has a fresh sound that will be memorable to their audience.
“Down” starts with a more solemn instrumental feature that utilizes softer instrumental application, which is joined with softer vocals. The instrumental portion of this song is minimal, for it is an acoustic-type song that is meant to feature the band’s vulnerability. Furthermore, the band stretches portions of the music to allow their audience to feel the lyrics that are being sung. This song is, by default, the ballad of the album if there were to be one. It is a beautiful selection that amplifies a somber emotion; also, this was a fantastic placement for this song, for this is the half-way point of the album, and it gives the audience a quick breather from the high-volume content.
“They’re Not Real” starts with a groove that is established by the mixture of the vocals and instrumental section. The vocals of this song lean closer to the rawer style of vocals, but the genre of this song feels as if it leans more towards the rock genre of music. This is effective because it is completely different than everything else presented previously on the album, and since it follows the softer selection, it will catch the audience even more off guard. Similar to the previous songs, the band toys with the adding and subtracting of instrumentation to allow the vocals to shine.
“Infected” starts with an electronic based feature that has the instrumental section blended in with it. The vocals start in the background within a faint volume grid before joining in full volume. When the chorus of this song hits in, the bands full signature sound is evident, and the band pushes forward with an instrumental groove that is the driving force behind their melodic content. In the middle of the song, the band includes an instrumental feature that includes a guitar solo: this is a nice addition because it is something that the audience hasn’t heard before, and it’ll keep their interest and make them want to hear more.
“Tied In Nots” starts with a single guitar motive that starts at a low dynamic that builds until the remainder of the instrumental section is introduced. The vocals of this song fall back into the smooth category, and they are strongly pleasing to the ear. The lyrical content of this selection is quite memorable, which is important because the instrumental material isn’t overly exciting compared to the previous track. However, the band does create a groove through their background music, which helps to amplify the catchy lyrics of the song.
“The Maze” starts with a cute interlude that flows into another acoustically driven verse. The vocals of the first verse capture the listener’s attention, for they are alluring and lovely. The instrumentation is minimal throughout the first portion of the song, which isn’t surprising because off the nature of the song. The band does include song phrases where there is no accompaniment at all. This is effective, for it helps to drive the melodic intent and it allows the vocals to shine. When comparing the two softer selections, this one seems to be more pleasing, for the band pushes and pulls with tempo and dynamics to keep their audience engaged.
“Echo” starts with a single tone that evolves into a full vocal sound that seems to be backed with electronic vocals. The instrumental portion of the song remains with an additional single strum on the guitar that helps to balance out the symmetry of the song. As the band moves closer to the chorus, the instrumental section veers towards a groove that helps to keep the song move forward. This song waivers in the same realm throughout, melodically and lyrically speaking. Towards the end of the song, the band introduces another major instrumental feature that utilizes a variety of timbres to create a cool sound. This was an okay choice for their final selection. Although this song isn’t the most memorable song on the album, it does amplify their characteristic sound to their audience.
Final Thoughts: Overall, I would give this album a 4 out of 5 stars. This is a strong first album for an up-coming band, for with each track the band took the time to show their audience what they have to offer. The band messes with several genres, but they generally lean towards one side or the other based on the song. The vocalist’s tone quality is fantastic, and his voice will likely lure in fans as they begin to grow as a band. Therefore, if you are looking for a good sing-along band with catchy verses and memorable grooves., this is the band for you. Well done!
*”Good Excuses” was released on September 1, 2017 through Rise Records.