Chasing Shadows - Review
Maintaining their busy schedule, these New Yorkers continue to churn out great new music.
This latest album captures once again the essence of this band's style of gothabilly sounds with a soft ethereal yet jazzy touch. We have a great collection of music across nine tracks for fans to enjoy.
"Creeper" kicks it off with a little jazzy feel in the music as well as the vocals with a perfect vibe you get from a shady character in a dark alley. While maybe not the favorite on the album, this sassy piece is a great way to start off and introduce the material on the album. Once again there's a diverse range of pieces here from the dark and brooding, to the light-hearted and satirical. The music maintains that mix of various guitars you find across so many genres from country, oldies and modern rock for a diversity that you would never think would work but comes off so well. The album delves into each of these diverse genres with Mollie's vocals varying from piece to piece as much as the overall diversity of the mustical compositions on each track.
We have some great stand-out selections worth mentioning here, though the entire album is great to listen to from start to finish as I've done at least a dozen times in the last few weeks. "Too Hard, Too Fast" I think was the first to really capture my attention with more of a solid rock sound and that goth touch with just a bit of sass in the vocals for a nice accent to the song. I've had fun listening to "Trust Me" which really goes back to the old classic styles where country meets 50's oldies rock as that solid bass and reverse beat percussion move the track along. As the album continues we're back in to the darker moods of "Treachery" with a bit heavier and darker guitar providing the back-drop for the lyrics and vocals. Along these lines we're greeted with "Chasing Shadows" which is very appropriately named as this is probably one of the darker pieces on the album with the heavy and brooding moods the guitars and bass create which are all grounded with the solid vocals, making this a definite favorite here for the gothic tastes. To wind down the album we're presented with another gem in the form of "If I Could". This softer piece still maintains the solid classic sound while softening the edge a bit with Mollie's vocals creating even just a bit of an ethereal atmosphere to bring the album to a close perfectly.
There you have it, another great album from this talented band with their signature sound creating a new classic. This album is well worth picking up especially for those that love the gothabilly or rockabilly scene, don't miss out!
Driven - Review
This band has really continued to grow on me with their last album Rocket Surgery
getting plenty of play on the radio waves here and often appearing in the top 10 listings each week.
This newest work continues along the same path that we were exposed to with their previous album and our first taste from this band. The classic gothabilly sound remains the anchor for the music on this album spanning a dozen excellent tracks.
The album kicks off with a real classic sounding piece really going back a few decades in style with "Spinning". The overall mood of the 50's classic rock sound mixed with a modern twist makes a great combination as Mollie's vocals really add that final touch. The mood and styles vary as usual across the entire album. There are definitely some favorites on this album, some with that harder rock and goth influence while others bring out the dreamy ethereal side. Other selections on the album will still be loved by fans depending on their favorite style and taste, but overall production, composition and performance is excellent.
For the purposes of this review I'll just touch on a few favorites. The aforementioned track that starts the album off is definitely a favorite, having grown up in a family where we had dozens of records from all the classics from The Beatles
to Johnny Cash
, this piece fits right in with long-time favorites from the time I first remember listening to, recognizing and enjoying music. "All Tomorrow's Promises" follows in similar fashion though with a heavier beat for more of a moving track. A littel bit later "See You in Hell" gets on the heavy, deep groove that would fit perfectly alongside some of the more modern renditions of "Ghost Riders in the Sky", making this a definite favorite on this album. "There & Back" is a nice little mostly instrumental piece that also mixes well with this overall style of classic rock and country with a modern twist. As the album starts to wind down "In Too Deep" impresses with it's excellent style, accentuated and solidified with the dreamy vocals.
Those are just a few of the highlights and there are still plenty of other excellent pieces that the listener will have to check out to fully experience the diversity of this album. I highly recommend it to any listener that enjoys the classics referenced as well as anyone into the gothabilly style, definitely pick it up and enjoy!
Rocket Surgery - Review
This project has been around in one form or another since the late 90's, but in their current incarnation since 2008 with Mollie Israel, Stephen Masucci and Michael Williams.
This album marks their third full-length release since 2008 with Midnight Matinee
, 2010's Dark Matter
and this release in 2011. The band's overall style of goth-a-billy, mixing electric and acoustic guitar with the occasional country twaing has been capturing the attention of various fans over the years. On this album we're treated with eleven of these somewhat eclectic pieces, while the disc comes packaged in a nice tri-fold, cardboard digi-pack with some simple artwork and band information.
The album kicks off with some great tracks and keeps it up pretty much for the duration of the album. The intensity and styles vary throughout the body of work from the more intense rock-driven pieces with a bit of shimmering, distorted guitar soaring over the moving percussion and subtle synths, while at other times a more laid-back ethereal style comes out with the slower down-tempo beats. While the band and this album carries an eclectic style that spans such a broad range, at any given time when one of these tracks appears on one of our radio shows, the style is easily recognized and on this album it all mixes well for a solid, connected mood and almost thematic approach. These themes stand out through the song titles from "Dead or Alive", "Play with Fire" and the chorus of "children of the night love to play with fire", the appearance of "Sweet Ophelia" and "Lost at Sea" are themes that often appear in folk and goth-related music, so this album fits right in with the related genres and bands.
As I've listened to this album over and over, several tracks immediately stood out while others have grown on me a bit. Some favorites really come at the beginning of the album, but others are scattered throughout. Listeners of our radio shows will no doubt pick up on some of these as they are included on both of our radio shows. "Dead or Alive" kicks off the album and is a stellar masterpiece showcasing the country-ballad style of acoustic guitar meets somber female vocals and the subtle synths and electric guitar that really give the music some great body. "The Road Is Long" is an excellent down-tempo piece showcasing much of the same styles in a laid-back atmosphere, something along the lines of later Cranes
meets Julee Cruise
with a bit of an attitude. "Play With Fire" is pure goth-a-billy, with a fast-paced beat and that unmistakable mix of guitars all holding the backdrop for Mollie's vocals and the fitting lyrics. "Little Girl" and "Not The Only One" are both nice relaxed, down-tempo pieces. A little bit later "Lost At Sea" stands out a bit more with a bit of a classic rock style while still anchored in the goth and folk sounds of the album. "3 AM" stands out with it's inclusion of saxophone that 80's music fans will definitely love. As the album wraps up I have mixed feelings about "I'm On To You". This is almost pure country and for the average fan listening to this album (and probably the artists themselves), it will be fun or cute, but for me, as I grew up listening to a lot of country music (not by choice) and with the resentment of that trial, this song actually brings back to many bad memories as pure country music from a few decades past.
There you have it, definitely interesting and diverse. Not something you hear every day in our favorite genres though there definitely are plenty of gothabilly bands out there, something like this as a diversion once in a while is great, but I think this band pulls it off well and this album is a great addition to our collection.