Lucy establishes her beautiful voice among the instruments, taking wonderful rhythmic turns alongside the instrumentation before allowing them to bloom and expand pushing the song forward. "Needless" follows, showing the band's maturity and attention to detail. It is declarative, yet vulnerable, a perfect offering to follow the first exposition. These types of production decisions are those that make heavily profound albums.
It takes time to set up emotion, and as with any solid album, even more time to take the listener on a journey. The Knights Project takes time with their songs without wasting a drop of it. Guy Hayes joins for vocals on "Mollusc," and is a pleasant surprise. Hayes harmonically snuggles right next to Lucy, paying great attention to detail. The Knights Project moves throughout The Shoreham Sessions with focus and control. "Lung" gives a bit of a surprise with its change throughout, and again, it is very welcome and well-placed. Lucy's lyrical maturity can't go unnoticed.
As I make my way through the sessions, I long to know a bit more about her influences. "The Land of the Dead," with its phantoms, gives me a bit of personal imagery. Rather, I mean I derive my own personal meaning from it, which is something all artists should hope for. That's not to say that listeners shouldn't pay attention to messages, but it sure helps songs stick in people's heads when they can attribute new meaning. That is a difficult task to accomplish; it takes wit.
The Shoreham Sessions is as sharp as it is beautiful; it will disarm and decompress listeners. Each note peels away another layer revealing a deep, well-thought-out, sincere recording worth sharing with loved-ones.
"Triangle Offense EP" is built on great production paired with witty bars. I really like the inclusion of the bass guitar in "This Is For The Mind." Brisk Oner, responsible for beats, doesn't disappoint. His sample use is as witty as the Smash Brothas' bars. That's a recipe for success. "Smash Em" once again delivers the goods, with the sample setting the listener up for a "wow moment" once that actual beat comes in. All this is before the MCs get to work, taking things to another level. Smash Brothas seem to have bars and hooks for days, which is saying something, as I've only listened to two tracks so far.
From here, I moved on to the final track, "Bounce," and now am officially a fan. This EP is quite a combo; the culmination of the tracks leaves the listener in a place where they cannot refute the energy listening to this act gives. LOL: "turn it into agua, like Titicaca..." So much #YES! These guys nailed it, I just wish they all had set up real artist pages so I could follow them!
Wrong Kata Trio's Dark Earth, is an absolute smash-and-grab groove factory that's bound to get anyone moving some part of their body. I listened to the first track, "Aura." With its rhythmic twists and turns, varying instrumentation and graceful lead lines, the composition ebbs and flows as most good jazz should. It begins with the organ leading the way melodically, into a bonafide sax groove. It was a fun ride. Next I listened to "A Good Day to Be Alive," which honestly brought immediate thoughts of Prince. Brandon Graves' musicianship shines here. He takes advantage of his time, striking strong and leading with his playing. Anthony Case rounds out the rhythm section with licks dipped in butter. UJ Pesonen has great touch with when, where and how he expands his riffage. I must say, "A Good Day to Be Alive" by Wrong Kata Trio is the type of song that gets you in trouble. I'm talking about the best kind of trouble. Also, Lawrence Kansas? Really? This has got to be the grooviest outfit to ever come out of Kansas. Seriously, I didn't expect to hear this type of music at all.
"Scotch AM" picks up right where "A Good Day to Be Alive" leaves off, and actually ups the ante with a ridiculously "rocky" groove that is text book "escalation." I love that these guys took this step and placed these songs one after another. I'm sold now. Ya got me. I hadn't planned to listen beyond a couple of tracks. But as I hoped, "Here's the Circumstance" kept me engaged. A few gears down in tempo, it was just what I needed at this point in my experience, and I think for any listener of the record at this point. We've already churned a load of jam in just a few moments. I swear, everyone should listen to a little more jazz. Wrong Kata Trio's has been a breath of fresh air. Things stay beautifully low key with "Christena's Dream," with absolutely lush guitar work. I really like the bands phrasing as well, in general. Not too much, not too long, or too loud; they have done a great job of placing the right parts in the right places. That's high-level musicianship.
Rock music can be difficult to execute. The nature of the genre demands navigating a fine line between complexity and simplicity. Light and Heavy. Soft and Hard. The best master the balance of these opposing forces and Artificial Flavors, the debut EP from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania quartet screamcloud gives me the impression the band takes mastering this balance seriously.
My listening began with the EP's namesake, "Artificial Flavors." The band wasted no time falling into a somehow lazy, yet snappy groove that got my attention early. I believe this song was listed second on the track-list, but understand why It played first if it wasn't user error. There is an apathetic tone established with the groove that Vocalist Emily Daly perfectly harnesses the power of with both her voice and lyrics "is my heart still beating?" The culmination of all these elements set the stage for a refreshingly early, perfectly executed guitar solo. This is the type of song that gets you through a long day. I found myself listening multiple times before moving on. I tend to like material that's a little catchy; I feel like this EP satiated me in that regard.
I enjoy the feeling of remembering and experiencing songs that strike a chord in my mind. The band did a solid job executing their material in the studio. Their takes sound organic and heartfelt. I could care less about the production techniques used, I simply want to relate to the feelings an artist is communicating. "In Real Life" struck me as a road trip song, the kind you listen to in the middle of a 8-hour trek after being up (maybe a few days?) as you contemplate your place in life. The steady rhythm section establishes itself without fanfare and hums along much like a car on cruise control. Charles McQuiggan and Danielle Lovier play with control, giving Emily Daly and guitarist Joshua Curry (I assume) time to work respectively, before blooming into a short, but classy psychedelic jam. As I gave it a second and third listen, "In Real Life" struck me as a lullaby too. My 7-week old son passing out in my lap as we listened probably influenced my perception there.
"Routine" begins with gnarly guitar riffage before a slick drum beat drives things forward. The baritone was a great choice for any "grunge" or "garage" band. It has the versatility to either thicken the rhythm section or be a solo instrument. I wish it was a bit longer, which is a compliment, and I hope the band takes their time with it on stage.
screamcloud did a great job on their first offering, at times reminding me of Sweethead, other times Garbage, and sometimes Warpaint, all for different reasons. If they keep this up, I may have a new band to follow.
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