Tuesday, 18 December 2012

New Artist Alert: The Antics

A New Jersey outfit that has performed at the Stone Pony?! No...it can't be... alas, The Antics are not offspring spawn from a one Jon Bon Jovi/Richie Sambora love affair, but they are in their own right taking over the NJ music scene with one eye on the rest of the world.

The Antics are a fourpiece post-punk/indie rock band who have grown up together jamming in garages and working at fame the hard way whilst laying the foundations to their very own career in music. The band take inspiration from rock-mainstays The Who, The Smiths, Joy Division, and The Doors and describe their sound as, "...a tasty dish of head-knocking beats with fuzzy guitar riffs, propulsive drums and infectious hooks." Well, with my appetite whetted, it's time to find out what all the fuss is about.

'Touch the Sky' kicks off album 'Running Faster' with a raw and steady feel, held together capably by the lead vocals. With a nod to the genre, the arrangements are simple and a little thin but this is what the indie sound is all about. I was a little unsure about the sudden fade-out at the end; coming in at just over two minutes I felt there were a lot more ideas that could have been explored without feeling like the song had to come to a sudden end but it segues into track two on the album easily.

'In the Night' is sitting pretty in the middle, holding fort at the halfway stage of the album. Led by the lead vocals, the guitar sound isn't dissimilar from 'Touch the Sky' but at least the lead guitar explores some lead-lines to develop the sound and maintain interest. The track breaks into these lead-lines at regular occurrences creating a much more musically-interesting arrangement. The chorus is low-impact but suits the style of the track as it grows in intensity, the lead vocals once again leading the charge, as the rhythm section holds everything down steadily whilst the lead guitar delves into solo territory. The sound is far more interesting and well-developed than previous tracks on the album but still has a little 'garageband' tinge to it all; this might be part of the charm of the band and the genre, and who am I to say what the NJ teens are screaming for these days, but I feel that the influences cited by the band all had a lot more to offer musically and I worry that The Antics don't penetrate deeply enough nor do they jump high enough on a middle-of-the-road, and very congested, musical spectrum.

Don't be swayed by my opinions; simplicity is effective and I urge you to make up your own mind. The Antics are attracting critical acclaim in the NJ area and are also donating a track to go towards relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, raising funds for the Red Cross.

You can check out The Antics for yourself on Facebook. Enjoy :)

Monday, 3 December 2012

New Artist Alert: Maycomb

When We Were Beautiful is happy to share Maycomb with you, a pop-punk quartet from Wolverhampton who have just announced the release of their debut album 'I Opened My Heart To Caustic Things' via I Am Mighty records.

I've had a listen to the album, which is an energetic pop-punker of a CD that kicks off like a freight train with opener 'New Storms'. Maycomb are setting their stall out early, beating the crowds on an early Sunday morning with all the bite and energy of any well-established pop-punk outfit from across the pond. Frantic drums and a steady mix of half-time/double-time feels ensures this sits well within the established comfort zone of the genre and, at just under 2 minutes long, is a real snapshot of things to come from the album; a warm-up to the main event if you will.

'Dynamiter' kicks off with an extended Parmore-esque opening feel, before making way for the vocals that are often dual-layered adding a little more depth to the lead vocals which feel a little thin at times. I'm reminded of the All American Rejects at times, so if you're a fan these guys might just be for you. Verse 2 looks to develop ideas previously explored in the track to maintain the listener's interest whilst remaining true to the good-old pop-punk recipe.

'Out of the Darkness Cometh Light' offers a little audio-respite; a wise move from Maycomb as they opt for a mid-album electric guitar/vocal ballad to ease off the intensity, if only for a minute or so, allowing the listener a bit of breathing space. The segue into 'When The Time Comes' is rather effortless and definitely adds to the track considering the afforded toilet-stop.

The album ends just as it started, full of energy and drive with 'Also Ran' that particularly showcases some great drumming and lead guitar work. The rhythm section are working hard throughout the album holding things down; the guys are evidently tight and doing a great job on the song-writing front which should hopefully allow them success as long as the genre remains relevant.

If you like what you read, check out the album-sampler in the video below. Hopefully then your appetite will be well and truly whetted and I'm only too happy to send you in the direction of iTunes where you can purchase an album for yourself. Be sure to keep up to date with the guys on Facebook too, and catch them live when you can. Enjoy :)