This young, new Kentucky band’s debut pop-rock album will be released on August 16. A lot of good stuff is going on here, in particular the loud, incisive production, which breathes life into the instruments, and the twin vocals– one male, one female. This gender divide is often worked into the structure of the songs. First track “Get It Daddy” switches to male vocals during the slower breakdown. And the male repetition of the chorus sounds completely different from the sunny female version which occurred earlier on the song. And “Force A Smile” features both voices on top of each other, fitting the desperate, sex-starved lyrics.
The riffs here are undeniable– they’re made for people to dance to. And the vibrant sound of the double vocals penetrates the mix, giving the songs a full, lush feel. The bassist, too, is impressive: check the driving bass on “Shuga Cane.” This track’s a good example of how much energy the band packs into these songs, mostly structured in the typical pop format. “Love Blood” starts off sounding like it’s going to be a completely different song, something more along the lines of Eno’s album “Another Green World,” except for the male vocal, but quickly moves into a rollicking, almost dub-influenced rhythm.
“Bottomed Out” has a whistling synth hiding in the back of the beginning of the mix which pops up for the choruses. The double vocals continue to keep boredom at bay. The song switches gears about 1:40 in, moving into a marching rhythm which is much more compelling than the first part to me, especially given how powerful the final rendition of the chorus is. “Proper Taste” has a remarkably full sound, making “Bottomed Out” sound somewhat thin in comparison. This one’s infectious, the tambourines in the rhythm section adding a nice touch. The ending is also pretty atmospheric as far as these guys go, another nice touch.
“That’s My Baby” moves in a sweeter direction, and it pays off. There are guitar squiggles and echoes in the back of the mix, adding a layer of texture to the quiet track. For once, the male vocalist isn’t snarling or manic, showing his versatility. But the female lead singer, Alex Kandel, steals the show here. I think it’s the best song of the album, and the placing is no coincidence: it’s meant to stave off monotony. I get the feeling “Get Burned” could be a lead single– it’s hard not so sing along to. The best part, though, is the short, pounding section of the ending, making me wish the band explored moments like these and the beginning of “Love Blood” more.
“Some White Monster” opens with a groovy, almost metal-influenced riff, moving into a powerful 3/4 shuffle. It’s a cool variation on the band’s standard sound, at times spacious, but always noisy. The ending moves into 4/4, and though I like the tension inherent in their playing, it’s mostly a disappointing ending to a tight track. “Be My Monster” seems to be more of the band’s usual sound, but about halfway in, a Caribbean influence takes over, and it’s excellent. The rock riff at the very end jolts you.
“All Wave and No Goodbye” is another soft song in the vein of “That’s My Baby,” but it contains more electronic textures, including a fat synth to start things off. Like I said before, it would be really interesting to hear the band develop this sound more– but that’s a personal musical preference, and what’s going to bring these guys to the charts is their pounding, playful pop-rock. “Far and Wide” rounds things out, tender but also powerful.Anyway, like I said, these guys have a lot working for them. I love the boys vs. girls feel, because it’s simple and playful but also packs a lot of potential. This music is in your face but sweet, not snarky– and that’s what’s going to take them really far. It’s clear these guys have been on the Bowling Green, KY circuit for a while, honing their sound. So if you’re looking for some summer rock music to dance to, check them out. You may end up hearing their name more often.
Manuel Abreu, Contributor