FULL DISCLOSURE: I’ve never done an album review before!! Most artists (from what I’ve read) should never say when they’re vulnerable or when they screw up to show more confidence, but you know what? I just like being honest with this stuff… so there you have it. This is my FIRST album review!! A quick thanks to the guys at C-Level for having me do this. NOW LET’S GET INTO IT!
We open with the title track RIGHTS. A song that has an introduction of spacey guitars (instant hook for me) when in comes a melodic solo drenched with wah and delay, creating some beautiful texture as it soars on top of the mix. The mood soon takes on a reggae vibe with some great hooks setup by both a small horn section and harmonized guitar solos, giving off a real Pink Floyd meets Phish idea (can’t get mad at that right??). Overall a great way to start an album.
When speaking with Dave Deitke (credited with guitars and “throat” on the back album cover), he gave me some background as to how the album was shelved a couple times but was a full set when asked to perform for 45 minutes or so (THE SET as described by the liner notes)… Essentially its one long song broken up into titles for the sake of an album. And this is demonstrated right off the bat with how smooth of a transition is made between track 1 and 2. AWOL will leave you with angst, a feeling captured by its haunting screaming chorus of “Why did you have to go and leave us all??”. With a song composition reminiscent of early 90’s Red Hot Chili Peppers mixed with classic rock jam sessions its makes for a solid tune.
So far we’ve covered a few genres just within the first two tracks alone. So what the hell, lets add a third!! A-PUNK is the music equivalent to being woken up by your college roommate dumping a huge-ass bucket of cold water on your face… in the best way possible… Heavy power chords with some tasty syncopation, punk speed and even some vocal harmonies offer a different side to this group of local musicians. Almost in the same fashion, this leads directly into A-EGGAE, which takes a step back by slowing down the tempo a tad as you hear singing of longing and possibly heartbreak?? (“I just want you to have my heart”). These two tracks combined make for a solid middle point on the record before we get into it’s final stages of funkified bliss.
As the title may suggest, FUNK-4-FREE is a funk tune that ends up being a great example of what can be done when you simply say “fuck it, lets get weird”. What do I mean by that?? Well, as the song reaches its climax we’re then taken on a wild journey through the different types of funk, as described by a voiceover being run through all kinds of vocal effects. Think George Clinton/Parliament, almost like a back and forth conversation with Alvin and the Chipmunks and someone that slowed down their voice with a Snapchat filter… and as odd as that may sound, I loved it. A really fun throwback that somehow feels needed in today’s age of taking things WAY to serious. With their final track, 4SAKEN, the band goes back to form with some reggae style guitars and more melodic solos. The last two minutes bring in some reversed sounds that lead into an energetic build-up consisting of a dramatic closing sequence with some tasteful shredding, wild drums and more vocal harmonizes leaving you wanting more from this band… at least, that’s how I felt… one last “HEY! WE AREN’T GOING ANYWHERE” kind of moment you know??
I can only imagine seeing this album played in it’s entirety as a full set. A lot of great musicianship and refreshing arrangements that a lot of bands don’t try to tackle. Combining so many different genres on one record can be a gamble, but the guys in C-Level know what they’re doing. Give it a listen! Available December 28th.
Thanks again to the guys in C-Level for having me do this!! I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed listening.