As much as I dislike outlets that rush out an opinion, or those that give an album a cursory listen before casting it aside — we at BOMR understand that time is finite. We aren’t able to give every effort and artist the time they may deserve in the spotlight. So instead of letting hard working bands fall through the cracks here, we are going to sound off (quickly) how we feel about several recent records in rapid, gauntlet-style, sucession. Begin!
The Secret Handshake - Night & Day
Luis Dubuc has come a long way since his first modest electronica beginnings. With every effort, from “One Full Year” to his latest “Night & Day” he has evolved, making sure to never stay stagnant. I’ve noticed The Secret Handshake change from original basement keyboards, to more mass appeal pop rock tracks, to what is on this record — which sounds like something soulful out of an episode of The Cosbys. Think catchy 90′s television, which isn’t a stretch for Luis who wrote a song about his love for Urkel (“TGIF”) on his sophomore record. He has totally abandoned his roots for a smorgasbord of accompaniment insturments such as sax, piano, gospel singers, etc. Which makes “Night & Day” feel like a genuine experience, but for those interested in The Secret Handshake of old, this is not it — which will become very apparent once you hear the efforts single “Domino” which mirrors a youthful Michael Jackson song, or the 80′s centered outing “Woman” which reeks of Huey Lewis and “The Power Of Love.”
Apocalyptica – 7th Symphony
A Finnish “cello” metal band? (laugh) Wait, you’re being serious? And they propeller head bang while layering bars of impressive cello resembling traditional metal guitar-riffs? Wow. Besides my first impression of Apocalyptica, which is that they sound like a string quartet tribute of a metal band (which isn’t helped by the fact they like to cover songs), I couldn’t help but be impressed and entertained by their new album “7th Symphony.” Sure the vocals are few and far between, coming solely from the featured artists which include several big talent names such as Gavin Rossdale (Bush), Dave Lombardo (Slayer), and Joe Duplantier (Gojira), but when they do arrive, they feel right at home — even if home is a complacent symphonic metal song in which bands like Shinedown and Flyleaf exist. The instrumentals are where Apocalyptica really shines, turning what some consider, metal chamber music, into operas of professional and moving symphonies. Now watch this.
Elevator Art – Elevator Art
Lets check the numbers, 5 band members, 2 girls, 3 guys, 4 vocalists, 1 self-titled album; we must be describing the “all-over-the-place” rock band Elevator Art. This band is a proverbial explosion of noise. Swift pacing, top-heavy packing of a whole myriad of instruments — from thumping bass, daring percussion, dynamic guitars, congo drums and more — as well as a remarkable vocal harmony; are what make this band’s experimental ventures leaps beyond the norm. Besides the pros however, the album gets a tad uneven with hyper tracks like “Punch & Judy” contrasting with more lethargic songs, such as the well sung, yet inebriated, bar ballad, “My Glass.” “Elevator Art” may be all over the place, but like bi-polar people, this band is more interesting than your average by-the-numbers rock band.
(Hed) P.E. – Major Pain 2 Indee Freedom
Is it just me, or do the edgier outfits from the past seem to get more and more pacified as the years go on? A key example is (Hed) P.E. who have been rapping to an american metal soundtrack since 1994. “Major Pain 2 Indee Freedom” is the groups second “best-of” effort, and all it seems to do is highlight how the band has become more toned down and plain as the years have gone on. This record includes a whole host of “popular” songs, such as “Bartender,” “Sophia,” as well as the punk-infused track “Renegade,” but after turning 17 and sampling true examples of both rap and metal, this satirical hybrid is simply tired. Everything just starts to sound like you blended Saliva and Kottonmouth Kings together, or as the later song “Orda (Ab Chao)” mimics, Skindred. I’m not much of a fan for best of and live records, because most of the time they appear to be simple money-grabs, and MP2 doesn’t appear to be any different. If you are already a fan you most likely have all of (Hed) P.E.’s albums, but if you are a new-comer and seem interested in their beaty punk-infused rap metal, I would suggest checking out their Myspace or borrowing earlier albums such as “Blackout” or “Only In Amerika” from friends, because single whoring isn’t something I would recommend.
Everyday Tragedy - Blackhole Carousel
Not even touching on the angsty and quixotic titles of this five-piece experimental rock band from Orange County’s band name and latest album, I decided to bypass the 0-gauges and low cut v-necks to listen to Everyday Tragedy‘s “Blackhole Carousel.” And what this band considers “experimental” was done back in 2004 when Lost Prophets released their less risky (yet addictive) album “Start Something.” That doesn’t mean that this effort isn’t worth checking out. On the contrary, it alternates between hook-heavy rock, with melodic guitar plucks and inoffensive vocal swooning, to lighter poppier rock that infuses phase effects for the more sugar-sweet catchy songs. Lyrically, it is plain, featuring repeating rhetoric of love and lost. But if you need a simple rock band with interesting quirks, Everyday Tragedy, will suffice.
Strength – Mind-Reader
It’s been a bit since this Portland, OR trio made a splash in the water with their 2006 disco-rock full-length “Going Strong.” Four years later, Strength has rallied another 8 tracks to serve as their new effort, “Mind-Reader.” Now while I’m not an advocate for disco in its original form, Strength takes a different direction with the inclusion of already accepted guitars and thick bass-lines, as well as an abundance of 70′s synth, and a steady flow of percussion coming from a precise beat-box, allowing for homage to music of yester-year, as well as making a modern sound. It all feels like such a production — almost like an elaborate porno, bush included. Especially when listening to “Brandy,” which I’m pretty sure seduced my pants off. So if you have a soft spot to cheesy 70′s booty jams super-freak songs, then Strength will hypnotize you with bouncy synth and some of the more addictive disco-rock I’ve ever heard. It’s probably the first I’ve heard in decades. I’d stick with professionals like Daft Punk though.
Decision: Investigate Further
More To Come!
Leave a comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.