02.18.2009

Wedding Music, Part 4: All The Music

Posted by AJ Harbison at 8:30 pm

It’s here–the last week leading up to the wedding! I’ve been rather busy (as you might imagine) so I haven’t had much time to post. But I’m going to try to write a few entries over the next few days and then schedule them through the next week and a half, so even while I’m away on my honeymoon you can still get your TLB fix.

I thought that I’d post today, for anyone who’s interested, the overview of all the music I’ve planned for the wedding. The first three wedding music posts can be found at the following links: Wedding Music, Part 1, Wedding Music, Part 2, and Wedding Music, Part 3: Recessional.

For the ceremony, a member of our church community group agreed to play the piano for us–she has a master’s degree in performance so we were excited to bring her on board.

For the prelude, she’ll be playing a variety of classical music: some Bach, a little Debussy, etc.

There will be two hymns that the congregation will sing during the ceremony: “Be Thou My Vision” (careful; if you open that page a really crappy MIDI version of the hymn will start playing automatically) and a modern hymn, “In Christ Alone” (music starts automatically there too, but at least it’s a decent recording).

Then there’s the music I wrote, in three parts:

The processional: “Amazing Grace.” This is the song that all the bridesmaids and groomsmen will “process” to as they walk down the aisle. I wrote a flowing sixteenth-note pattern in D major (pretty cool, if I do say so myself) for the left hand and set a slightly altered version of the melody “Amazing Grace” over it. Then after a full verse of “Amazing Grace,” the left hand changes to portamento (i.e. slightly detached) single notes while the right hand plays an altered version of “In Christ Alone”–the two songs actually make for a pretty seamless medley, because they’re in the same meter (3/4) and have similar rhythmic patterns. After the last line of “Amazing Grace” returns to cap things off, there are four bars of anticipation while the piano plays around softly with a G major chord (the IV in D) and C-sharps, which create the feeling that something else has to come next. Then comes a hanging G major-add6-add7-add9 chord, the back doors of the church open to reveal the lovely bride, and the next piece begins:

The bridal processional: “Passion And Purity.” (See the Wedding Music, Part 2 post for details on this piece’s history.) The intro and outro of this piece are based loosely on the theme from the second movement of Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 3, Op. 36, a piece that has a pretty fascinating history of its own. (If you happen to click on the audio sample from the Wikipedia article, please be advised that it does not contain the theme that my piece is based on.) It’s played in a simple, innocent-sounding setting in C major symbolizing purity. The main body of the piece is a setting of a simple melody I wrote a long, long time ago–the only musical connection in the wedding to anything else I’ve written. It begins in C major, but then transitions up to a more brilliant setting in A major (symbolizing, for me at least, passion), and includes a subtle quote of Bach’s piece “Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring,” which is often used as a bridal processional itself. The conclusion of the piece, returning to the Górecki theme, remains in A major–suggesting a new kind of purity in the context of marriage.

The recessional: “With Joy.” (See the Wedding Music, Part 3: Recessional post for details on this piece’s history.) This piece was the most fun to write and is the rocking piece in the set. It is also in A major, continuing the idea of passion–and what a passionate piece it is. It starts with a high triplet pattern I stole from a Michael Card song, “The Voice of the Child” (click on the song’s title under “Song Clip” to listen to it–the triplet pattern is at the beginning; if that link doesn’t work, click here and click the play button next to track 7). The pattern builds as the pastor says “I now present to you, for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. AJ Harbison!” at which point I will give our pianist two quick conducting cue beats. On the downbeat, the triplet pattern shifts into overdrive (in sixteenths instead of triplets), and the left hand crashes down into low octaves à la “Baba O’Riley” as explained in the linked wedding music post above. It’s gonna be awesome. The middle section calms down a bit–I think it’s at that point that the pastor will invite everyone over to the reception–and is I think the only passage in all three pieces that is newly-written and not referencing something else. It’s mostly chordal and follows simple progressions built around the IV, V and vi chords. Then the high pattern/”Baba O’Riley” theme returns, in a slightly modified form that eventually dissipates up into the original triplet pattern, quiet and way up high. There’s a faint echo of the theme from “Passion And Purity”–tyin’ it all together–and then it ends on a high held A, and a low A octave as quiet as possible. I’m telling you, it’s gonna rock.

(I’ve joked to Eleanor that I could never publish the wedding suite, if I ever wanted to–there’s way too much plagiarism in it. I’d bankrupt us paying all the licensing fees. But at least it’ll be awesome on the day itself!)

Then comes the reception! We decided to hire Bonne Musique Zydeco to be our live band, and we can’t wait to dance the night away with them. My lovely bride and I will have our first dance to Derek Webb’s song “Better Than Wine,” she will dance with her father to “Up Around The Bend” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, and I’ll dance with my mother to “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” James Taylor-style. All with dashes of zydeco thrown in to spice things up. We’ll eat, drink, dance and party; and then my bride and I will make our getaway and ride off into the sunset.

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02.05.2009

"As Slow As Possible," John Cage

Posted by AJ Harbison at 3:29 am

While looking at some websites about John Cage for my last post, I came across this interesting one. In addition to his famous controversial pieces like 4’33″, he apparently also wrote a piece called “As Slow As Possible.” One current performance, which began in 2001, is scheduled to finish (after being performed very quickly) in 2640, a mere 639 years in duration. Allegedly more than 100 people showed up two and a half years ago to hear the chord in the piece change. The article is from May 2006, but I assume that the performance is still going on.

“John Cage’s Long Music Composition in Germany Changes a Note”

It’s a shame that avant-garde music like this doesn’t make much money. Anyone with a reasonable amount of intelligence could be a millionaire!

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01.23.2009

Finger-Syncing

Posted by AJ Harbison at 9:37 pm

Thanks to my company being so cool, I had the chance to watch part of the inauguration ceremony on Tuesday morning of this week. They set up the big-screen TV in the conference room to stream the video feed; unfortunately it kept hiccuping, the audio and video were out of sync, etc. which was pretty annoying. But I enjoyed the chance to see it regardless.

As you probably know, famed film composer John Williams composed a piece specifically for the inauguration entitled Air and Simple Gifts, based on the famous Appalachian folk melody, and it was performed live by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Itzhak Perlman, pianist Gabriella Montero and clarinetist Anthony McGill. My first thought upon seeing the performers was “They can’t really be playing, it’s way too cold for the instruments to stay in tune!”

You know, turns out I was right. I saw an article on MSN today making that same point. The musicians were in fact performing live, so the people who were close enough to them could hear them playing; but the instruments were not amplified and the music that was broadcast over the speakers at the event and to the millions watching on TV (myself included) had been recorded several days before.

That’s a reasonable decision–really the only reasonable one, if you think about it. The temperature was about 30 degrees, as the article points out, too cold for any of the instruments to play in tune but especially “play[ing] havoc” on the piano. This happens pretty frequently with classical performances in very cold environments, and even the great tenor Luciano Pavarotti famously lip-synced his final performance. I fully support the decision of the musicians at the inauguration, as I imagine any reasonable person who understands the factors involved would. But I find it amusing that the press wants to make a point of revealing this fact. The article can be found at the link below.

“Their performance was live — but music wasn’t”

When I wrote the first draft of this post, I replaced my original text “I find it amusing that the press wants to make it a big deal” with the text of my penultimate sentence above, thinking the word choice of the former was too strong. But several hours later, the article made it to a more prominent place on MSN’s front page and also added a reader poll, entitled “Vote: Bad Choice?” So now I return to my original thought. It’s ridiculous that the press is making such a big deal out of it. The actual question on the poll is practically incriminating: “Was it wrong to ‘fake’ music at the presidential inauguration?” Fortunately, 68.2% of the people who voted in the poll voted no. But some of the responses (you can comment as well as vote in the poll) are rather amusing in themselves; one person who voted yes commented “Just more smoke & mirrors from the obamamite camp.” The third option in the poll (besides “yes, it was wrong to fool the masses” and “no, who cares, it sounded good”) is “Maybe. If this is how the administration starts out …”, and one of the readers who voted that option also commented “i’m not at all surprise if it was recorded, everything sorrounding the obama campain has been stained with deceitfulness” [sic]. As if Obama or his “obamamite camp” or “campain” had anything to do with the performance (whatever the heck they are). Doesn’t anyone have any common sense anymore?

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01.18.2009

Wedding Music, Part 3: Recessional

Posted by AJ Harbison at 8:01 pm

One of my favorite TV shows is House, a medical version of a Sherlock Holmes mystery: “House solves mysteries where the villain is a medical malady and the hero is an irreverent, controversial doctor who trusts no one, least of all his patients.” It’s now in its fifth season, but since I’m watching it on DVD and very slowly, my lovely fiancée and I are only in season two. One of my favorite episodes, which was the fourteenth episode of season one, is “Control,” in which House, by questionable ethical means, saves a young CEO who has destroyed her heart by ipecac self-poisoning and bulimia. I don’t think I agree with his decision in the episode, but despite that disagreement the episode is very well-written and the ending is one of the most satisfying that I’ve seen yet on the show. After his final conversation with the patient, House returns to his office and begins playing “Baba O’Riley” by The Who over his iPod speakers. The song has an awesome intro, and the feeling of triumph is unmistakable. (You can watch the whole episode for free, albeit in low quality and with Spanish subtitles, here. If you’d like to skip to the last scene, start playing the video and then click around in the timer bar until you get to about the 38’30″ mark. If you really trust me on this one and want to watch the whole episode on Amazon for $1.99, click here. You can listen to the entirety of “Baba O’Riley” for free, courtesy of our good friend Last.fm, here.)

As I’ve mentioned, I really love this episode and I really love the way the song is used to evoke elation in the watcher/listener. So, a few days ago I got an idea for the recessional for my wedding. (As I wrote before, I’m going to be writing all the music for my wedding ceremony.) The piano would start by “fading in” with a high ostinato repeating pattern, perhaps based on the keyboard intro to “Baba O’Riley” but not the same. The anticipation builds as the pattern continues and the pastor says: “I present to you, for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. AJ Harbison!” at which point I give a quick conducting cue beat and the pianist crashes down on low octaves in the left hand–the same notes and rhythm as in the song. (Believe it or not, Eleanor actually really likes the conducting cue idea.) Hey, satisfaction, elation and triumph all count at the culmination of the wedding ceremony, right? I think it’ll make a rocking recessional. And I can’t wait to give that cue–more fun than a composer should be allowed to have!

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01.13.2009

"Just As I Am" Branches Out

Posted by AJ Harbison at 12:32 am

First off forgive me for not posting over the weekend–your favorite listening blogger came down with a cold; but I’m feeling much better today and we’re back to your regularly scheduled posts!

Second, I want to thank everyone for the proliferation of comments recently. As I’ve mentioned before, I love getting your thoughts and opinions and dialoguing with you on the site here, and I appreciate the consistent comments I’ve been getting on the last few posts. Keep it up!

Third (now that I got those things out of the way) I wanted to inform you all of an exciting development for me. I’ve written several times about my arrangement of the hymn “Just As I Am,” and how the Jeff Mercer Band has been playing it pretty regularly at their River of Worship services. (Incidentally, I drove up to Redlands to record my acoustic guitar parts and vocals for the Jeff Mercer Band CD two weeks ago, and it’s now entering the final stage of production. I can’t wait to share the version of “Just As I Am” from the CD with all of you; it has a full band behind it and it sounds really cool.) One thing I haven’t written about yet is that I also shared the song with the worship director at my church, and he’s been playing it on Sunday mornings for several weeks now. I’ve gotten great feedback from members of the congregation, and one of my musically-inclined friends suggested I try to publish the song.

Since I’ve never published anything (yet) and didn’t know quite how to proceed, I sent an email to the CFAMC Yahoo group and asked their advice. I got a number of excellent responses, which were all encouraging but also noted that “publishing” (in the sense of finding a company to print sheet music) is not necessarily a profitable way to go in regards to worship music, since most worship bands learn new songs by imitating recordings rather than reading sheet music. However, several of them said they really liked the song and wanted to pass it on to the worship leaders at their respective churches. Based on the latest emails I’ve gotten, it was already played by one church in Ohio yesterday, and is in the process of being pitched to churches in Canton and Granville. It’s exciting to know that a song I’ve written is being played in at least two churches literally 2400 miles apart, with more likely to come!

If there are any CFAMCers who read this blog, I want to thank you for your group’s thoughtful and encouraging response. (And I’d love to hear from you and know you’re listening!) And for everyone else–I’ll keep you posted on the continued progress of the song!

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01.07.2009

Raves At Stonehenge

Posted by AJ Harbison at 8:57 pm

MSN.com today is featuring a story regarding an acoustic study of Stonehenge, the mysterious ancient stone monument in England. The original purpose of Stonehenge has baffled researchers for centuries, but this new study suggests that the stones may have been intentionally placed to reflect and amplify sound. Check it out!

“Stonehenge: One Totally Awesome Rave Location”

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12.31.2008

Midnight Hour Live, Time The Fourth

Posted by AJ Harbison at 8:30 pm

(Before I get into this post I’d like to throw out congratulations to the Detroit Lions, the first NFL team ever to win 0 games and lose 16 in a single season. Here’s to perfection!)

I went out again to see Midnight Hour at the Detroit Bar on Monday night–their last show there in their December residency. (You can see all my previous posts on Midnight Hour by clicking here.) Unfortunately no TLB readers took me up on my offer to show up and get a free drink, but I enjoyed myself nonetheless.

The opening band was called Janu and the Whale Sharks, a local OC indie band. Brad (my friend and the frontman for Midnight Hour) said that he’d heard good things about them, and he and I were both pretty impressed. They started off with a banjo, which is pretty awesome in and of itself, and we liked their sound. Their Myspace page lists their genre as “Folk Rock / Lyrical / Healing & Easy Listening;” I don’t know what “lyrical” or “healing” music is, but it was definitely folk rock, and it was much better than the type of music that’s typically referred to as “easy listening.” Worth a quick Myspace listen. Dynamite Walls also performed again.

And then Midnight Hour was up. Throughout the Mondays in December, the Detroit Bar had some Christmas lights on the stage, snaking along the floor, wrapping around amps and crawling up mike stands. But tonight they rearranged them, to great effect, and spelled out the band’s name:

The band was great again, of course. I recognized all the songs from the previous weeks, and they played the songs the same way, but their energy and passion in playing makes hearing even the same songs worth it. They also played an encore at the behest of the audience. I mentioned in passing in one of my previous posts that Brad played a solo acoustic encore at two of the shows; the last time I went there weren’t enough cries for an encore to get one. But this time the full band played the encore and that was a pleasant surprise.

I tried to record several videos with my cell phone, but none of them turned out good enough to be postable. So you’ll just have to content yourself with the band’s YouTube channel and the other ways to listen to their music I detailed in this post. I’m excited to get their album when it finally comes out, and see them play more live shows in the near future–hopefully ones that start earlier than 11 pm! I’ll let you know if I hear anything more about the band–if there’s any news about their album or more shows coming up. And in the meantime, have a fun, safe and very Happy New Year!

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12.26.2008

I’ve been out twice more to see Midnight Hour, my friend Brad Lodge’s band–on December 15th and December 22nd. (My first two posts about them can be found here and here.) They have a residency playing at Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa every Monday night in December–which means you have one more chance to go out and see them.

Their live show was even better these two times than it was the first time I saw them. The sets were also quite different–they included the three songs from their demo CD again, as well as “Running Away,” but they also introduced several songs they didn’t play the first time, which I appreciated. I imagine that limited sets can be a danger for bands still in the process of writing their first album, but I was grateful to see that Midnight Hour avoided it. It sounded to me like Brad’s voice was a little tired, and he said that he was getting over a cold, but he still led the band with an infectious energy that seemed to be at an even higher level than before. The band was still tight, the music was still great, and although the place was still very loud I brought earplugs this time.

(Bonus aside: Someday I’ll get high fidelity earplugs, which reduce noise without muffling it. Normal earplugs cut out many more high frequencies than low frequencies, so the sound is distorted; hi-fi earplugs are “attenuated” so as to replicate the ear’s natural response and reduce sound at all frequencies. I had thought that so-called “musician’s earplugs,” which are custom-made, were pretty expensive, and upon a bit of research it seems they are; however, Etymotic Research offers a cheap generic alternative in their ETY•Plugs™ (ER•20 High Fidelity Earplugs). Apparently they reduce noise by about 20 decibels at all frequencies, and are available on Etymotic’s website for twelve bucks a pair. They claim that safe, permissible sound exposure to a rock concert at 112 dB increases from five minutes with unprotected ears [i.e. more than five minutes' exposure at that volume endangers your hearing] to 1.25 hours. Hmmm, do I sense a small Christmas gift for myself here…?)

In any case, the main point is that Midnight Hour is a good band, and their live show seems to be getting even better. Due to the strange fact that there were no chairs set up in the bar on the 15th, I shared my table with a girl about my age and her mother, who had found the band online and wanted to check them out. They both enjoyed the two opening bands (Dynamite Walls again and a new band called Y.E.A.R.S., for which I can’t find a website), and although I appreciated Dynamite Walls more and Y.E.A.R.S. wasn’t terrible, I sensed that my two new friends were not too discriminating in their musical tastes. However, they immediately agreed with me that Midnight Hour was clearly the best of the three bands. Again, even though I feel like there are things the band could do better, they are very good at what they do, and I can’t wait for their album and also to see how they mature.

That being said, again, you have one more chance to see them. Detroit Bar (21+), 843 West 19th Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92627, 9:30 pm, Monday, December 29th. No cover. That means it’s a FREE SHOW. Come out and hear some good music for free. You know you want to.

Special offer: If you see me at the show and mention TLB, I’ll buy you a drink! (If you need to know what I look like, click here.) That’s how much I want to see you there–and how good Midnight Hour is.

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12.25.2008

Handbell Quartets For Christmas, Paul Ellsworth

Posted by AJ Harbison at 3:28 am

I’ve written before about the Christian Fellowship of Art Music Composers that I belong to, and their monthly listening pages. For their Christmas edition this year, the featured works were by a young composer named Paul Ellsworth (www.ellsworthcreations.com): two Christmas songs for handbell quartet. I always enjoy handbell music, so I headed over to the YouTube videos linked on the listening page and checked them out. I was pleasantly surprised–they really are for handbell quartet, meaning there are only four people, but they do things with handbells I’ve never seen at speeds I’ve never imagined. Most people, I think, enjoy handbell music, but it’s worth checking out these videos just to see the performers and all the cool stuff they do. Not least of their accomplishments is that these long and complicated arrangements are all memorized–not that they’d have time to look at music anyway. The group is called Five Octave Frenzy, and they’re part of the music department at The Master’s College. The first video is five and a half minutes long, the second is five and a quarter. The performers from left to right are Amanda Madrid, Leslie Ann Tulloch, Hannah Cooper, and the composer himself, Paul Ellsworth.

“Sing We Now A’Wassailing”:

Merry Christmas from all of us (i.e. me) here at The Listening Blog!

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12.04.2008

Midnight Hour Live

Posted by AJ Harbison at 1:43 am

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, I was in a band with a cool guy named Brad Lodge. He played guitar and sang lead vocals in the band, and I played keyboard and guitar.

Fast forward to the present time and the present land. Brad Lodge is still a cool guy, and now he’s the frontman for a very cool band called Midnight Hour. After being signed by Interscope Records, they’ve been in a long phase of writing for their first album; and on Monday night, they played one of their first shows in a year or two.

I went out to see them at Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa on Monday night–they booked a gig playing there every Monday night in December, along with a band from San Diego called Dynamite Walls. Each of these shows are free, with no cover charge or drink minimum, so you may want to check them out if you like live music. (If you happen to visit the Detroit Bar’s website, though, don’t be fooled–it’s not nearly as nice as the site makes it out to be…)

The music started almost 40 minutes after the scheduled time, so I sat for a while by myself drinking my Jack and Coke and people-watching. I tried comprehensive listening–trying to listen to every sound around me–for a short while. It was an interesting exercise because the only two types of sounds were the DJ’s music playing over the speakers and the many conversations; but I noticed that different conversations would stick out at different times. As I wrote about in my first post on the topic, when I’m trying to listen comprehensively my ears “jump” around to different sounds, in a similar way that your eyes might jump around to follow different movements in an otherwise static scene. I noticed that with conversations as well: a sudden burst of laughter, an emphatic point being made, would draw my ears’ attention for a moment, before they would be drawn to something else.

The first opening band was called PawnShop kings (their capitalization). They were actually quite good–their lyrics were pretty repetitive and didn’t have a lot of substance, but they worked, and I liked the music quite a bit. I’m going to do some more listening and watching around at their Myspace site, and I’ll get back to you.

The second opening band was Dynamite Walls. They were more of a straight-up rock band, and because the bar was a pretty small space, it was way too loud. I enjoy loud music to a small extent, but since my ears are my most valuable asset I try not to enjoy it to any extent that worries me. This extent worried me, so instead of staying in that room I moved back behind the bar to lessen the decibel level. That turned out alright, because I wasn’t particularly impressed with the band anyway, and in the other room I ran into Brad and we got the chance to talk and catch up a bit, since we hadn’t seen each other in a few years. He was excited to see me there, and I was excited to see Midnight Hour perform.

They went on after Dynamite Walls. I’m sorry to say that they were also very loud; but of course I wanted to stay to hear them. Some pretty intense TTS occurred.

The main problem was that the drummer was playing at full force (or something very close), and the space was small enough that the cymbals basically covered everything else. The sound guy also didn’t mix the rest of the band very well, and Brad’s voice didn’t stand out as it should have. One of their Myspace friends named “booz” left a comment on their page saying “detroit…though an awesome place…is too small for you,” and that’s very true on two levels. First, it was just too loud for such a small performance space. And second, they played as a big band and put on a big show even in a small space. I feel like they would have been almost suited to open for Coldplay in the Honda Center by virtue of the way they played. I hear that this was one of U2‘s distinguishing features when they were a young band (i.e. before they became a big band that always played in big places).

I like Midnight Hour’s music a lot. The songwriting is a bit repetitive, but it’s well-written at the same time. It’s simple, but not simplistic, and I think that describes their music as well. The style of the band is definitely rock; Brad compared their sound to a British-type band, and mentioned Coldplay. Listening over the last few days to the free demo EP that they handed out, I am noticing a lot of similarities to Coldplay. Midnight Hour is guitar-based, and occasionally keyboard-based, rock; they’re very high energy; they often have similar beats and drum patterns; Brad sings in falsetto quite a bit and does it very well. The live show was really rocking, and (despite the volume) I enjoyed it very much.

Their most popular song is “Running Away,” which was actually featured on the CBS TV show “The Ghost Whisperer” about two years ago. (You can see the clip from the show featuring the song here; note that the lead singer of course is an actor from the show, and the bass player is secretly JC Chasez of ‘N Sync. Brad does make a sort of cameo, however: you can see him playing the green piano to the right of the lead singer. A video of Midnight Hour performing the song on the show’s set–probably the best performance of the videos linked in this paragraph–can be found here.) Subsequently it became a pretty big hit on the internet and (as far as I know) has remained their fans’ favorite song. It’s a great song–it also has simple words and simple music, but they combine to create a coherent whole and it’s pretty powerful. You can see a video of them performing the song live in the studio here, courtesy of UGO.com (which also has more Midnight Hour videos and fun stuff that you can find on their UGO page). I really like “Running Away,” and I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t on the demo CD; but upon further reflection I decided that this was okay. “Running Away” is the kind of song that I love to listen to so much that I end up listening to it too much and I get sick of it.

Listening to the demo CD, I think that Midnight Hour is a very good band, and they have the potential to become a great band. The difference, it seems to me, is details. The music was by far better than either of the other two bands at Detroit, but it still lacks detail. The guitars and the drums are fine at what they do but they don’t do quite enough. Listening to the CD is like listening to a recording that’s still waiting for a few more instrumental tracks: the foundation is there but it’s a general sound, with very few fine points. One instance of this can often be found in the gaps between vocal lines. Brad will sing a line, and then wait a measure or two before singing the next line. But instead of one of the guitars playing a little riff to fill the space, it’s left open and feels empty. Another example would be the drums: they definitely lay down a solid foundation, but some finer details (changing up the pattern slightly, throwing in some quick extra cymbal work) would do a lot to spice things up. Their mix often feels a bit bottom-heavy, as well–with two (or three) guitars and a bass providing all the musical material other than the voice, some high keyboard or guitar parts would be nice here and there. A little more nuance and subtlety in the lyrics would be appreciated t
oo; much of the time they tell explicitly rather than showing implicitly, when the latter is a key to good songwriting (in my opinion). And–although this is a personal preference rather than an objective critique–I’d like to hear one or two 80s-style shredding guitar solos, because I know the guitarists are capable of them and they would rock. But I would say that if they learn to add more fine details to their music and tweak their sound just a little, it would take their music to the next level.

But I’m still going to listen to them, go to their shows and cheer them on in the meantime–and I’ll recommend ‘em to you, my loyal readers, as well!

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