iMER 2013

Have you heard some independent music you love so much you gotta share? Do it here. (please post NEW music in the appropriately dated subforum)
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iMER 2013

Postby cjdenecia » Sat May 11, 2013 12:13 am

... a little dusty this iMER idea ....

too bad. we need to spread our wings again and get involved with all that is going on around us and bring it back here instead of just letting the networking sites have all the lost glory (cus face it, one post on facebook about a band gets lost in about 3 hours)

so, I was approached on FB by a band ... wanted a review for it's just released EP. they might have figured they would get a glowing, adoring, I love you guys review but that wasn't what happened. I don't think they'll be using my review as promo material - tho I did give one song a pretty good hey there.

here's the EP and the review.

http://www.candidate23.com/

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

REVIEW OF CANDIDATE23’s EP: RECURRING DREAMS
By
CJ Denecia AKA audiopolis rex
CO-founder and reviewer at www.audiopolis.org
May 4, 2013


SLIGHTLY SOPHOMORIC EFFORT, BUT THERE’S POTENTIAL!

I've sat myself down and listened to these tracks now about a half dozen times and have given them a chance to sink in and here's what I came up with ....

RECURRING DREAMS .... title track. In reality, an intro to track 2. not much there besides the build to FLOAT AWAY. It’s not really all that inviting, with no definition and no obvious or inferred melody present ... the intro to FLOAT would have been better served by just starting somewhere between :40 and :50 seconds on the track. Everything prior to that was simply self indulgence and filler fluff that didn't serve much purpose as the prelude that somebody thought it would. score - 2 of 10. don't drone on with instrumentals and intros boys - every second needs to have it's melody or it's a waste of sound real estate in an EP.

FLOAT AWAY. For what is, in essence, a ballad power pop song with a twist of a hard edge, an 'average' at best offering to start the EP. It has dynamics and some decent chops but very little of that special edge that makes a good/great song. Nice acoustic guitar sound though and all in all, the entire band does a credible job of performing what is basically a hookless song with loads of energy. The melody tries to hold the attention of the listener by varying between a breathy soft delivery to a full on modern power pop soaring sustain but it just never hits home with a memorable attention grabbing moment. The energy is there and the attempt is good but it simply falls short - like an attempt at a MUSE copy - lots of effort and lots of good intention but it just don't find the big button .... album filler and NOT a lead off song on a major release recording. 6.5 of 10 is what I'd score it ...

UNTIL IT'S COLD .... an easily accessible melody over the top of a driving and moving beat. And though the chorus isn't completely perfect, it does possess a pretty good hook with it's backing vocals setting the table for the rising wall of sound - so the singer can counterpoint well without a stutter in his step. By far the best vocals on the EP, far more diversity and maturity in the voice. It's interesting that somehow the song reminds me of a harder edged, more bombastic MATCHBOX 20 and that's not a bad thing. There’s good air in the arrangement as the verses allow the drums to carry the vocals through without much clutter. Even though the song could never be mischaracterized as groove rock, it does carry a bit of full body moving beat along it’s road. There’s good backing vocals and the best guitar work of the EP. In fact, better than the EDGE on U2's first offerings and there are similarities to warrant the comparison. (even though I'm sure you'd rather hear it's a KILLERS influence) a solid 8.5 This one would make the cut on the first big album release.

I'VE BEEN HERE BEFORE. Again, a good performance by all and the song drives along well .... but, the far too simplistic double plunk of the piano makes me feel like the lifeless rudimentary part in the intro was misguided intent. Luckily, it's short enough, cus it gets so old so soon (if you were aiming for the KILLERS sound, pay more attention). But - it does eventually move on ... and it's decent for a big power ballad thing but the lyrics get a bit redundant and there is no luck on love for dragging the listener into something big. Repeating the first part of the verse again and again is something that doesn't work very often. Sure, like any refrain lyric, it'll become familiar but on later listens it'll probably become lazy and old. The style can work but it doesn't THIS time. Maybe with a better lyric – something that flows better, hooks ya in and is a unique but familiar passage ... I will say though, the melody is emotional and sadly pleasant. To be sure, the song is reminiscent of a number of slickly produced young male diva songs over the last decade or so, which doesn't make it bad at all - just not original and unfortunately, not all that memorable by first time listeners to the band. so it's a 6.5/10. Still I guess it could be a sleeper for those that like songs that don't demand much in listening but just the want a big nearly emo-ballad highlight sound for a few days.... the playing all around is solid and well arranged. I just wish it could be harmonically and melodically, more than what it is. Goose bump moments ya know ... every song needs to have it in 2013 - if you want to go viral.

I WANT YOU - a strong intro and an interesting melody. Good energy, still - little effort to create a groove with the song as much as depending on strictly a power beat on a brisk meter. Adequate playing by the band over what is basically a simple progression but other than the chorus rising up (as is completely necessary to give the song any purpose) - the effort is quite linear in arrangement and doesn't conjure up a whole lot of emotional appeal. No sticky hook moments in a style and genre that requires it for success. barely a 5 of 10 here on the first few listens but it does grow on you a little with subsequent listens so I'll top that up to a 6 or maybe a 7 but it still seems to be simple energy vs great songwriting. ..... but the best song for the bassist.

FIRST STEPS. Much the same here .... good performances by all but the song is the problem. And this time, the creative beat, with it's inferred timing and change up of the chorus is just simply confusing and basically uncomfortable for anything in the bones that wants to dance or move with the music ...instead of coming across as intuitively brilliant. The song is truly the runt of the litter here - being a complete throwaway that probably should have been replaced by something a bit more accessible. to give the song a 4 of 10 is just me being generous, it's really closer to a 3.




OVERALL ... the EP is mostly good with a blip of a hint of brilliance despite a lack of a unique sound. The band is strong ... the most important player - the singer - is talented and strong but sometimes sounds soooo young. His voice is pure and pleasant but he hasn't found his unique personality quite yet. And he certainly hasn't learned that in any rock genre, you sometimes need some real soul in your emotion (and delivery) to make it real and true. The deliveries are at times unconvincing and though they seem technically sound, they also seem a bit contrived and acted out vs lived. .... maybe writing about topics he's a bit more involved in emotionally would help. As it is, the lyrics quite often seem a tad shallow. Luckily, many lyricists do get better with age. The kid does have potential. Lots. With his excellent tools - experience will make him better.

The drummer has talent. To be sure ... but he's too concerned with sounding impressive and hasn't learned that to do so is only possible after you prove you can carry a song and it's drive with pocket precision. He needs to know how important his place is by simply holding down the groove of a song instead of being the lead player he sometimes seems to want to be. Only then will his chops show through and be notable. Study the greats and see what I'm talking about - simplicity and restraint is the key, as is allowing a song to find it's natural flow instead of having the big players (guitarist and singer) orchestrate it's backbeat or worse yet, trying to force creativity from behind the kit. Music is melody, lyric and beat. If one is missing, or too far off the path, it fails in it's accessibility to most listeners and the beat is really the drummer’s responsibility. The best song on the EP for the drummer is I'VE BEEN HERE BEFORE. Work that angle more.

The bass playing is a token effort - quite possibly either played by a guitarist or completely written and controlled by the guitarist(s). No bass-like fills. Limited low end harmonic moments. As it is, the bass parts are as simple as rudimentary punk but that's not what this style is best suited with. It's all black and white with no real color. It may be a stretch in style but I'd suggest studying some old John Paul Jones parts to hear how much a bass can add melodically and harmonically while staying clear of stepping on toes .... take something from it and add to your current style. The songs will be better for it.

The guitars .... honestly, there’s nothing really captivating about either guitarist based on these songs and performance – but they are competent. Completely dependent on creating a wall of sound and tearing it down and building it up again instead of memorable riffs or fills. No lead guitarist whatsoever and that's fine but without one, the main man must infuse at least something that has personality and a more unique style. This strays into paint by the numbers power pop work a little too often. Good but good ain't good enough. Find a style and build off it. Make it your own. ohhh and learn how to back off a little more .... sometimes, a singer, bass and drums alone can make you more important when you do finally jump in. A sustained amp sound over 3 measures can mean far more to a song than you making sure you get something in over every chord.

Extras ... like the piano ... if you can't play it great - leave it out.

Not much to say about the mix and mastering … the mixes are good and the mastering is ok but really, there seems to be a bit too much mud in the sound at times. Better mastering can probably solve that …

Ok, some of that seems like bad news for a review. And it is ... but there's plenty here to be positive about. I'm guessing you're all very young and you haven't had the time nor experience yet to flush out your own musical personalities. Each member has excellent talent - that is clear. But, it's not being harnessed as a unit all that well at times and most of that is likely because of the fact that you're not writing great songs yet. YET.

You're all cloning your own individual influences and not paying much attention to writing great as a band and fusing your styles into one fluid sound that is unique. Naturally, you probably think you are and a few people might tell you it's true as well but be honest with yourself ... find all of your best melodies, riffs, grooves and stories in song. They probably aren't on this EP (UNTIL IT'S COLD being the exception).

Stretch your writing skills and I'll bet your collective playing and singing skills will also get better and you might have a chance of advancing to the next level in today's convoluted world of music. Find YOUR voices.

EP score … 6 of 10. (that is measured against the best of the rest out there – from days past to now. Not against the bottom of the barrel …


CJ Denecia – cjdenecia@gmail.com
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Re: iMER 2013

Postby charvie » Sun May 12, 2013 4:34 pm

You definately have a gift when it comes to writing a review, your thought are dead on and the word selection is brilliant. I like reading your stuff, it's honest, fresh, and never comes without positives.
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Re: iMER 2013

Postby cjdenecia » Sun May 12, 2013 11:42 pm

charvie wrote:You definately have a gift when it comes to writing a review, your thought are dead on and the word selection is brilliant. I like reading your stuff, it's honest, fresh, and never comes without positives.


thanks marc .... if and when AP.org ever gets .... gets ... well, gets 'something' ... like bigger, I hope to involve about 6 to 10 of our best reviewers (that subjective word best being - who I think) in an AP feature that has full LP and EP recordings reviewed like this.

I do believe some of us listen, absorb, observe and report as well as the best out there. sometimes we're not the best publicists but maybe we should leave that to the ... uhhhh ... maybe, like ..... the publicists. reviews mean little when a reviewer writes to gain favor with the band or it's fans.

personally, I love doing it. and I can even write a review (with pen and paper) while driving from cocoa beach to miami. did one for domrocks a number of years back ... that might be a bit too over the top but it was better than the one I did for some band everytime I went to the toilet for a week once.
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Re: iMER 2013

Postby charvie » Tue May 14, 2013 11:57 am

I hear you dude, I really like the reviews you do, Kim is pretty stout as well, I think it's the use of the English language. AP will grow there's no doubt, it will take time to build a community. Community is ever important and it's tough to build a site without it.
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Re: iMER 2013

Postby cjdenecia » Wed May 22, 2013 12:22 am

... by way of a friend of kim ....


https://soundcloud.com/keshinharrison/sincere



14 years young. there is hope in pop rock music. if you listen to just one song today, let this be it. if you listen to 5 or 6, let them be his other tunes ...
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Re: iMER 2013

Postby charvie » Wed May 22, 2013 11:45 pm

I really like this kid for some reason, he's got something unique going on and Seems really authentic.
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Re: iMER 2013

Postby Krispy » Thu May 23, 2013 8:36 am

Cheers for listening, I am passing all this praise on to his proud dad.
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