Two very different bands and two very different reviews
Bruiser by Martin Smit
Frosting by William Elliot
Bully For Flux EP – Bruiser (WindowLicker Records)
A certian type of hard rock, streamlined to an inch of it’s roaring life, sleek, polished, yet still throbbing with power, is an extremly difficult creature to tame, never mind getting it to do new tricks in this modern age.
Sure the template here is those fine bands of time ago, like Cheap Trick, or Alice Cooper’s 70‘s disguise, but the band and the producers have managed to keep it all up to date in feel, style and substance.
What works is that under the reflected sheen and glow, there runs a dirty great engine, all oil and thrust and coarse, it is this containment, this tension trapped under driving sweet melodies that give the songs such power.
While others offer the illusion of danger, and stay safe, Bruiser offer up structure and songcraft and an honest invation to jump into the mosh pit and let go.
The Mix is what attracts here, a most difficult thing to get right in this sort of creation, the vocals are placed just so, neither too clean and upfront, or lost too far down in the murk, the instruments click tightly into the hurtling rythmn, the belief that good alternative needs to be messy, underplayed, or just cutely inept, is NOT adhered to, no rather that the making of a song from thought to finish is an adventure in skill and architecture.
and then the cool thing: all this does not distract from the warmth and passion and sweat in the music. a fine achievement indeed.
Fresh Frosting – Frosting (Kentland Records)
Opening track, ‘Comfortable Enough’ starts of with a squwark and then slips into a sleepy rock ramble that recalls JJ Cale, but the pace is picked up with a countrified pop track called ‘Katrina Wells’ a song that sounds like it has already been on the charts and now is resident on every FM station.
The band make all this sound effortless, like they got up and got this done during one fine afternoon, in single takes. Whether or not this is so is besides the point (the album has been years in the brewing) because the band doesnt try to be different or artful, extreme or agitated, but rather play good tunes honestly.
Because of this many may skip past this album in search for some thing trendier perhaps, or seemingly hipper or seemingly more indie. That would be a huge shame, as the band cover a mulitude of styles and offer up a diverse set of great songs.
Stand out track for me is the delicate cover of Buckingham’s ‘Go Insane’ where Laura Lopardo takes control of the vocals and sways through the bittersweet with a gentle elegant touch.
to hear more go to:
Trax from these albums will be played in the new year on the NBT podcasts, stay tuned for that.