Szabotage was a project born in mid-2020 to bring their giant rock/metal/punk sound straight to you. Consisting of Victor Szabo (guitars), James Phillips (vocals), Mike Dykeman (bass) and Grant Moynes (drums), the band consistently brings a larger-than-life hard rock and metal sound to audiences. On their debut release Six-Pack, thunderous drums, a hard-hitting wall of guitars and demented screaming vocals creates a definitively heavy sound. From start to finish the band has created something fans of Black Sabbath, Faith No More, the Blizzard of Ozz, Tool, Gojira, Anthrax and Opeth will be drawn to.
Six-Pack starts off with “Mistakes Were Made,” where huge rumbling guitars and bass reels in the sound at the start of this track. The sound is definitely hard-hitting and energetic. Once Phillips’ vocals came in, the hard rock and metal vibes were obvious. The scream-o vocals added a grittiness to the overall sounds that I thought was a great addition. Some sirens sound out at the start of “Channeling,” which sounds very ominous. Next, some raw and exciting bass comes in for a great effect. The music overall was very amped and moving. I was getting some outright punk immediately. It was a lot of fun to listen to. The band changes up the energy of this piece for a very acoustic vibe on “Are We Machines?” I liked how the band is able to show us different sides to their music-making through these eclectic songs.
Up next is “Joyride,” where a punk and emo sound come from the melee of instrumentals that strut to the start of this track. I enjoyed the bouncy rhythms and jaunty tune. This is definitely rock n’ roll at its best. I was instantly reminded of rock music during the ‘90s and ‘00s. The tune on “Sinn Fein” is fast and furious. The band kicks up their vibes up a notch with this heavy metal and aggressive hard rock song. The energy and stamina of the band was fantastic. Some sparse reverb-drenched guitars jumpstart the start of “Fremont.” Next, some drums and percussion come in with what turns out to be a slow burning song. Once the vocals come in, this goes on to clinch this. The band chooses to close the album with this emotional anthem that goes from soft to hard-hitting at a drop of a hat.
The members of Szabotage have yet to play in a room together and that is mainly due to lockdowns and geographical separation, but you’d never know it if you gave their debut EP a listen. This exciting array of their talent shows off the band’s penchant for creating an aggressive and heavy sound with elements of prog and punk that definitely produce a good many headbanger moments. With a sound that will get you riled up in no time, if you’re into the aforementioned genres, then this might be for you. This was a great introduction to the band’s sound and I look forward to seeing more soon!
Matt Malone is a musician from Santa Fe, New Mexico. We at Divide and Conquer reviewed his previous release Handle back in 2020 and he is now back with a new release entitled The Frontlines. The style is similar but there are some changes in mood and theme.
His previous release focused on a breakup as some albums tend to do. As with all things, time passes and life goes on. Malone mentions “The songs are introspective and autobiographical, and the album's theme is that of reflection but also that of starting a new chapter and leaving something behind in pursuit of something new. It's an optimistic album about starting a new adventure, while reluctantly yet inevitably departing from a beautiful, and at times tumultuous, chapter in my life.” That sounds like the perfect followup to a breakup album to my ears.
The album starts with the title track “The Frontlines.” This ong revolves around warm acoustic guitar, standup bass and banjo. It’s a warm inviting song even though it rests on a bed of melancholy. The vocals sound fantastic here. I loved it when the banjo comes in which gives a subtle lift in emotion. There’s also some well done organ and lead guitar that comes in toward the end. Again it’s very subtle but effective.
The energy rises on “Wait Forever” which is an Americana influenced song. There’s some great guitar work and just a great groove in general. I liked the song as soon as I heard it. The song builds with more layers and feels more and more motivational as it progresses.
“Silver Hills” is a beautiful song. There’s a swing to the music that is made with the guitar and bass. The song doesn't need drums. The cherry on top is the slide steel guitar which adds an additional layer of emotional resonance. In this case it feels like solace. The warmth is comforting to the point there’s a stillness to it.
“Letter for Leaving” brings the energy back but the emotional tone stays similar. The mix of emotions like nostalgia, melancholy and gratitude seep through the music. Banjo is back as well. This song might have the most memorable hook but that’s arguable.
Malone continues to hit it out of the park with solid songwriting on “Five String.” The intricate interplay between the instruments works wonders. It’s fluid and this song contains some exceptional vocal delivery. “Hedge My Bets” felt like the most single worthy song in the batch and is a full sounding arrangement.
The theme Malone talks about of starting a new adventure is most realized on the closer “Never Going Back.” There are some very joyful moments in this song. I loved what was happening with the strings around the one-minute mark. It’s an orchestral song with some beautiful ambient moments. The pads that dissolve in the verse around the three-minute mark sound just about perfect. When Malone sings “I’m never going back” you believe him. In fact he seems optimistic about the future.
The production and recording quality was exceptional. This is a case where the high quality recordings let the emotions pour through. Overall, I thought this was a great release that was tender, heartfelt and honest. Take a listen.
From Boston, MA, Good & You ? are a band that have been friends since high school. They recently released e.p. I which is their debut. It’s an instrumental release with the band showcasing some serious technical skill.
They start with “Ponzu Scheme” which quickly gets underway. The band immediately demonstrates they can play with the best of them. They sound very much in the pocket and the guitarist is just absolutely going off on lead. The bass and drums create a syncopated rhythm which gives the whole a lot of energy. There’s a quick breakdown around the one-and-a-half-minute mark. They pick up steam and an intense onslaught of sound. The quick shifts in timing are also something that impressed me. Awesome opener.
The song “All my boys smoke Newports” continues to showcase the fast and effective skills of the band. The first thirty seconds rock hard. They sort of settle into a verse with the guitar giving the rhythm section some pace. The band moves quickly and doesn't settle on a riff too long. There’s a fantastic groove around towards the end where the band goes all out.
“Hot outdoor shower” continues with the energy the band established. The bass drum sounds huge on this song. They find a number of grooves and work variations of that sound. By this point I was picking up more and more of the guitar's signature sound. He definitely has this circular-like lead thing happening. A lot of the complex lead playing feels hypnotic.
“Protecting Peter” might be the highlight. Aesthetically the groove on this song just spoke to me. It’s a little ethereal and even atmospheric at points. That being said the band rocks hard here and finds some of their pop-punk style mixed with tasteful experimentation.
They close in spectacular fashion with “Happy Birthday Oswald.” The band sounds metal at moments here and pulls off a number of crescendos that sound huge. There’s also something interesting happening around a minute-and-thirty-seconds in.
The band recorded their release DIY style and as an engineer I can say they did a great job. My only minor critique is that I thought the bass drum was at times a little overwhelming.
Overall, this band is very solid release. The band is off to a great start and can play really well. So well in fact I wasn’t missing the vocals. Take a listen.
Drew Kay is an artist hailing from Aliceville, AL. Expose the Dark is his first solo album. Kay explains “The album began as a simple exploration of what was possible with recording only vocals and acoustic guitar on an iPhone and seeing how far the sound could be pushed to compete with studio projects. As the album grew, more instrumentation and sounds were employed during the mixing process to extend the scope outside of just simple guitar and vocal.” I have to say this is probably the best iPhone recording I’ve heard.
Thematically the album explores the darker side as the title suggests. Suffice it to say the album deals with trying times. The album begins with “Into Darkness” and there’s a stillness to the music. It’s intimate, heartfelt and almost like he is inviting the darkness when he sings “Darkness is my closest friend.” There are multiple vocals at points and the song is dark but is quite beautiful as well. This felt like a highlight to me.
“Prisoner 666” definitely feels like it goes deeper into the darkness. On top of the guitar is a subtle atmosphere that gives an enhanced introspective quality. There are some occasional whispers but the focal point is the lead vocals. The vocals are deceptively catchy and memorable.
“Nothing is Nothing” is a little warmer but still melancholy and intimate. It’s a minimal song and it relies heavily on the vocal performance. Kay delivers the goods here. He shows off some of his range when he confidently exclaims “I’m not giving in.”
“A Letter to Charlie Pace” is a change in pace. I wasn’t expecting the piano. This song reminded me of a song you might hear from Coldplay. There’s a lot of reverb on this song which makes it feel like it’s being played in a cosmic arena. Kay belts it out here. This is a tearjerker of a ballad but there’s definitely a cathartic element here especially when he sings “I’m alive.” There’s also what sounds like a spoken word sample.
“The Everdark, Pt. 1” has some surprises. There are drums on this song which was a welcome addition to give the album a little more energy. This song felt similar to something you might hear from Pink Floyd.
I have to admit the title “I Never Meant for You to Hear This Song (Or Maybe I Did)” made me laugh. The song itself is just guitar and vocals. It’s a slow moving song that’s very melancholy. “The Death of Irial” starts with some atmosphere and another spoken word sample. The reverb is back and even more is applied here to the point where it felt like it was just reverb tails. It’s an extremely cinematic, poetic and dramatic song.
There’s a dichotomy on this album. “A Letter to Charlie Pace” and “The Death of Irial” felt very different from the other material. It’s cosmic, massive in scope and cinematic. I’m not sure it worked as well with the other material which was intimate in a way where you felt like you were standing next to the artist. It felt like two opposite ends of the spectrum.
There’s a lot to appreciate here. The first two songs were very strong in my opinion with some solid songs after that. Some of which felt like they worked better as standalone pieces. I was impressed by the songwriting and thought Kay was a strong vocalist. Recommended.
Ronald B. Noble is an artist based in Toronto, Ontario. With his debut EP Water Street, Noble blitzes us with his sound. Right from the get-go, once you hit play, you are met with his vocals that sound very laidback and soothing. The instrumentals are for the most part very sparse. Alongside the beats comes stripped back bass and guitars.
Water Street opens up with the title track “Water Street” where some rumbling bass comes in as well as some percussive beats. Noble’s voice was laid back. It gave this song a relaxed and soothing flavor. The sparse guitars also went on to make the sounds. I was definitely feeling the vibes here. Up next is “Funk Night,” which comes right in with an immediate sound. The sound of keys come in as well as some funky beats. The beats seem very distracting here. It didn’t help that Noble’s voice sounded a little buried in the recording. A little more fidelity would’ve helped.
Some more beats, synths and keys gain traction on “On Broadway.” Once Noble’s vocals arrive, the music really seemed to come together. Noble coos and croons with a happening vibe. I enjoyed his performance and style here. “The Albion” was a change of pace. This was a piano ballad. As Noble belts out his vocals here, you get the sense that this track comes from a personal place for the artist. He sings with great emotion and the song was definitely filled with a great atmosphere and a good way for the artist to close the EP.
Recorded in his home office, Water Street definitely comes across as a bedroom project. Using the resources at hand, Noble has made an interesting record packed with mood and feeling as well as an intimate vibe. My only critique is that it might behoove the artist if he enlists a live drummer onto the project. At times, the digital beats sounded distracting and even oftentimes overrode the vocals. Having live drums could help with this. But if you’re looking for something to chill out to or to just set the mood to your evening, be sure to give this a spin. You’ll no doubt feel better for it!
Jason Edward is musician and songwriter from Minnesota who has just released his debut EP titled Taking Chances, which he created as a snapshot of his personal style of Midwestern rock and Americana. Edward states that the title “sums up the experience of stepping out of your comfort zone to take a risk, and to see what might happen while having fun with your friends.” Thematically, Edward points to his cover photo as “reflecting the brutal challenges of modern rural life, as small towns continue to dry up and fade away. It really felt like the perfect image for this debut EP, which was influenced by the rural struggles and appeal of life in the upper Midwest.”
Aside from Edward and James Travis on vocals and guitars, we have Denny McGuire on bass, Alexander Young on drums, Megan Kleven on backing vocals, Craig Johnson on cowbell and John Sievers on Trombone.
Edward’s influences encompass the country and rock sounds of the late ’70s and early ‘80s, including Cross Canadian Ragweed, Reckless Kelly, and the Turnpike Troubadours. Though I’m not totally clear on this, I believe Edward’s home studio is called Mudstone Music, where the bulk of recording took place. Lead vocals were recorded with an MXL 2001 mic that Edward modified himself into a vacuum tube mic. He’s also proud of his guitar and amp combo: a 1966 Gibson ES330 through a 1963 Gibson Hawk, a Gibson Falcon, a Gretsch Rouge and a Fender Bassman. Mastering was by Greg Relerson at Rare Form Mastering.
“I Give Up On Love” is a breaking-up song with a strident “walking away from you” tempo. Edward has a solid country voice, somewhat like John Prine or the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band singers. This peppy song features up-tempo country-staccato major chords, and you can really hear the differences in Edward’s amplifiers. John Sievers’ trombone adds a welcome dash of flavor. Edward dedicates this song to “anyone who has had the courage to leave a bad relationship behind” and has a fun twist ending: “Don’t you want to stop me from walking out the door?”
With “Baby” Edward delivers a song about falling in love at first sight, taking us back to the start of a relationship. This one is swingin’ and unabashedly optimistic, with sweet female backing vocals by Megan Kleven. “Tail Lights” feels like Eagles boogie rock, with guitar notes that recall the Kinks’ “Victoria.” Edward says this is “a fun road song about female independence with a classic country rock feel.” I would have liked to hear more of Craig Johnson’s cowbell! “You & Me” is the first song to be based on acoustic guitar, and is about “the feelings you have asking someone to become your life partner.” I like the lyrical device of “One two three / what’s it gonna be?” The electric guitar on the left channel has a great tremolo sound, and Alexander Young’s drums feel a bit more prominent.
“Money & Miracles” again begins with acoustics and is reminiscent of John Mellencamp doing his Americana thing, sung by a guy who works hard day after day, trying to build a better life. Simple and clean, with excellent guitar work and a biting solo. “Whisky Tango Foxtrot” is “a song about someone going to jail” according to the lyrics. It’s a classic 12-bar boogie in the Creedence or Grateful Dead mode, with a nice live performance sound. The choruses are especially catchy, and overall it feels like a rave up before the band packs to go.
This is good time music that’s not gonna tax your brains too much, but would surely go great with a keg or two. Check Jason Edward out!
Blue Mallee is a Sydney, Australian based singer/songwriter guitarist. He Initially fronted the indie folk band (Master Tiger) for ten years, a solo musical project branched in 2019 after receiving a music grant to record his debut EP Shout That Whisper which was recently released.
The release contains six songs which are Americana influenced songs. I thought there were inventive things happening with the production and song structure. The first song “Never Really Coming Back” starts simple enough with guitar and harmonica. It’s a lonely and melancholy tone but certainly not hopeless sounding. The guitar sort of fades into this pad which I thought was unique and interesting. It’s sort of shoegaze and you can hear some distortion running through its veins. A steady bass drum comes and something about the song reminds me of Nick Cave. It’s definitely an original sounding song and my personal favorite. Great start to the album.
“Horizon” is around thirty-seconds long and revolves around vocal and guitar work. It didn’t feel like a transition to the title track “Shout The Whisper.” “Shout The Whisper” is a solid song that displays the vocal chops of the artist. It’s soulful and emotive. The band The War on Drugs came to mind on this especially when the bright chorus arrives. This song is arguably the most single worthy in the batch and also contains an epic outro that reaches for the moon.
“GO!” did feel a bit different to me. The song sounded somewhere between Dave Matthews Band, Counting Crows and Rusted Root. It’s the most vibrant and upbeat track yet. The feeling is often quite empowering.
Things mellow out on the emotive “Rocks & Cattle.” This song wraps you in warm pads, acoustic guitar and other elements. It’s a bit of a slow burn as elements are added like drums. The song has a sense of nostalgia but also of perseverance.
I loved the way the guitars were treated on “Take Me Somewhere Into The Wind.” It sounds like they may have some type of filter and a hall reverb on. This allows for the vocals to really come though. There’s a huge sense of space with this song. The dynamics stay fairly neutral but the harmonica which ends the album similar in the way it starts was perfect.
This is a heartfelt EP. There’s no doubt about that. The songs were well delivered and hit upon key patterns of energy which bring about a slew of emotions. There’s a lot to appreciate here so take a listen.
This five-piece Last To Know from the near western suburbs of Chicago started with Lou Pontillo, Brian Perfect and Bert Mojica in the middle of 2020. The band quickly added vocalist Justin Konicek and Artan Sakiri to mix to complete the formation. They got to work writing songs and recently released their debut EP Sweet Chin Music.
Their music is rock based and adrenaline inducing. The band usually doesn't lay off the pedal once they get going. They start with “False Positive” and after a few strummed clean chords the whole band finds a sufficient groove. The verse comes quickly and there are a good amount of transitions. I was impressed by the band's abilities. There are a good amount of inventive guitar parts, the bass is solid and the drums are technically impressive. Konicek certainly put a lot of emotion into the vocal performance. You can tell he’s giving it all he gots. The song was a solid opener.
“Snake Oil Salesman” is the arguable highlight. This song is even more intense. The riffs and grooves feel heavy. Konicek absolutely goes to the limits with his vocal range on this song. I wouldn't be surprised if he ruined his vocal chords for a couple of days after this take. The instrumental parts are on point with the band playing in the pocket. There’s a great breakdown a little after the two-minute mark where they sound a little like Black Sabbath.
“Hydrate” is under a minute long but this isn’t an interlude. The band is most intense here with a more overt punk style. I loved the vocal harmonies and urgency which sounded somewhere between NOFX and Turnstile.
“You’re With Stupid” is a nasty song. I was reminded of Rage Against the Machine and just the hardcore scene in general. The two guitars play off each other really well and the dynamics are more than impressive. This might be the most technically impressive song yet. Konicek goes all out on this song and I loved the maniacal laugh.
Last up is the longest song on the EP entitled “Mal De Mer” and Rage Against the Machine came to mind even more so on this song. Similar to the previous songs the band keeps the energy up although there is an atmospheric and ominous sounding breakdown before the three- minute mark that builds with layers till it comes to an end.
The band was not only technically apt but they can write some memorable melodies. I found this to be an EP that benefits from listening from beginning to end as they take you through different sides to their sound. Recommended.
Portland musicians Matthew Blount (lead guitar) and Chantel Bailey (vocals/guitar) are the core of MARBLE, and they’ve just released their debut album titled the shadow in me. First formed in 2016, this current iteration of the band features contributions from a group of talented local musicians. MARBLE describes their music as “a stirring rock sound, touting dark soundscapes and emotive vocal performances amidst melodic hooks. MARBLE’s unique flavor of melancholy is the product of emotional deep dives, spiritual deconstruction, and the bold belief that our shadows connect us. MARBLE is, in one word, a mood. MARBLE is equal parts haunting and cathartic, and will leave you feeling deeply introspective.”
Recording took place in several locations over a year and a half, but Covid forced the group to do the bulk of their recording in a basement at home, working remotely with producer Jonah Cohen, who also contributes bass, drums, synths and additional instruments. Mixing was by Random Eggleston (Modest Mouse, Dandy Warhols, The Mountain Goats) with mastering by Ed Brooks (R.E.M., Fleet Foxes, Pearl Jam). The album is available in several formats: CD, cassette, vinyl or download.
This type of album is difficult to review: as the group says, much of it is about conjuring and sustaining a mood in the listener (though many of the tracks are relatively short). The phrase that comes to mind is “dark dreamscape” as it feels a little too murky for straight dreampop. I kept thinking of the backroads of Mordor in a night filled with volcanic red clouds. Among the influences they mention are Emma Ruth Rundle, As Cities Burn, The Dead Weather and Radiohead. The sound of the band is mostly Matthew Blount’s churning guitar textures with Chantel Bailey’s vocals taking center stage, with one bravura performance after another. She’s been compared to Florence Welch, P.J. Harvey and Dolores O’Riordan, while I hear traces of Sandy Denny, Joni Mitchell and Meg Myers.
“the tower” sets the group’s template from the very first note. Blount and producer Cohen create a thick miasma of guitars and synths at a deliberately slow tempo, over which Bailey adds her beautiful, trilling vocals. This track has a definite Radiohead vibe, as the guitars have a hint of jangle even within all the fuzz and reverb. “victor bells” is a bit faster and jumpier, with the guitar and keys kind of swooping around like an analogue synth. The lyrics here and elsewhere are surprisingly spare, saying exactly what’s needed and moving on, without ever feel shortchanged. Thematically they feel a bit like “Lord of the Rings” or “Game of Thrones,” but that may be my own bias.
“space holds meaning” is an especially short track (just under a minute) that features a Bob Mould-style guitar riff and no lyrics. This actually turns out to be an intro to the next song “red room” where Bailey’s vocals echo the newly popular Kate Bush: super dramatic with a big, witchy-sounding build. The lyrics are mostly the repeated phrase “I can’t get it out of my head.” This song also features the addition of a mellotron-like keyboard. “axis” is framed by trudging molten fuzz guitars (or guitars with deep synths) way beyond heavy metal. This is one of two songs featuring Skyler Mehal on bass and Tom Noble on drums.
“marble” has more of a rolling, thundering beat, is named after the band, and is one of the album’s featured singles. That makes sense, as it follows traditional song form more closely and has a beautiful but chilling chorus, followed by a classic hard rock finale. “end of the world” is more like synth pop and is a cry from the burning front lines of climate change. “sleep” features William Mapp on drums, changing things up with beautiful acoustic guitars and especially dreamy vocals and harmonies. “quiet mind” is among the most scary tracks: musically it plays like the soundtrack to the movie “Tenet” where the music was designed to sound the same forward and backward. There’s talk of ghosts, and at one point the vocals sound like they literally come from the other side: “How much longer must i chase a ghost? / she stirs the devil in me in this blackened room / oh hear my plea / lest i become a ghost.”
“feeling is fleeting” is another 59-second interlude with echoed, disembodied voices, which leads directly into the finale “deadwood” again featuring Skyler Mehal on bass and Tom Noble on drums. There’s no big surprises here, but it’s another wonderful iteration of the MARBLE songwriting and musical style and a fitting end to the collection.
If you’re in the mood for dreampop with a darker spin, clap on the headphones and give this band and album a listen!
The music project Shared Image is the creation of Craig Delin, who was born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario, Canada. He’s been playing music for over 20 years and has been in various bands such as Sueisfine, Hey You Millionaires and Silver Medals. Delin plays all the instruments in Shared Image including vocals. His debut album, Who Decides Who Does What, reviewed here on Divide and Conquer, was released in December of 2020 on all major streaming platforms. Delin’s follow up, Along the Way, was released this June and was written, recorded, mixed and mastered during the past year in various cities in Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba. Delin states Along the Way is an upbeat album recorded while “working on the road” for something to do, and to create something he enjoys doing. Thematically, it’s about various concepts such as defeating the system and not giving in to the pressures of society, while still trying to remain a decent human. Influenced by bands such as Built to Spill, Shipping News, Mogwai, June of 44, Slint, older Modest Mouse, King Gizzard, The Oh Sees and many others.
The opening track, “A Narrow Victory” doesn’t exclusively address a specific social, political or planetary issue (for example climate change), so the lyrics could be about any narrow victory. Musically, the instruments unfold slowly and beautifully, taking on a rich and full indie rock sound. But there are also some hints of dark wave, new wave and goth, albeit subtle. Great choice for the opening song. The next tune is the title-track – “Along the Way” has a menacing guitar hook, a couple of layers in fact and lyrics that call for us to “just enjoy the ride” because “it’s likely that we won’t remember this illusion, this fantasy.” “Rock the Boat” begins with a clean sounding guitar and then the drums and bass jump in with a fast beat. The guitar riff is catchy and the tune itself takes on a classic ‘80s rock sound. Something like old Tom Petty, but harder. “Lick Your Wounds” has got a fantastic guitar sound and an interesting beat between the snare hits and timing of the lyrics being sung. A strong guitar/bass song from start to finish. Lyrically, I’m not sure what Delin was getting at, but a great song overall.
Next up is “So Nice to See You” and it’s a softer hitting song with all the instruments, including the synths. It also sounds more modern, as in early 21st century indie. Comparatively, it reminds me of early Coldplay. The words suggest a coming home, a reunion with someone who you are happy to see again and that they are standing again on their own two feet. The lyrics to “Error 404 (move along)” suggest being caught and your name “coming up on a screen as an error” – “What does it mean on the screen / when the field is missing… they’ll hold us accountable.” Big Brother government? Social Media? Great, rocking beat and lots of energy on this track. “Wilderness of Mischief” has got a little grunge groove to it, but it’s not overdone. There’s also a second layer of vocals here, which I thought sounded great. Overall, a lot of great, dark moments here with a very infectious guitar hook. Lyrically, it's a song about being led out of a forest of lies and deception and finding out what the truth is. This line sums up the song beautifully – “To get ahead we must disregard the lies we were once fed.” Moving on, “Gods and Letters” begins with a clean and classic guitar sound and likewise with the drums and bass. Later, Delin ramps up the sound and fierceness of his instruments. The synths though are what caught my ear. I thought they added a great dimension to the feeling within the song.
“Fortune and Fame” is about some guy who plays “devil’s advocate” who promises love, fortune and fame and a “fair game.” Yeah, no – something tells me that’s not going to happen. Delin’s beginning guitar riff reminded me a little of how Billy Bragg’s guitar would sound back in the early ‘80s. But that soon changes with a straightforward indie rock sound, in this number about a guy who gives you false promises, but just ends up leaving a path of destruction. “Forthcoming” was perhaps my most favorite track, just for its happy nature and unique mix of sounds. I only wish it would have lasted longer. A nice, musical exploration that ends with a rocket blasting off, which bleeds into the last tune, “Last Time Again.” This tune had a very ‘80s new wave sound to it, danceable and heavy in synths. I really liked this tune. It would be interesting to see if Shared Image would do more of this type of music. For me, it carried on the spirit (the lighter fun sounds, that is) of pop/electronica bands such as Depeche Mode and New Order. The words are about something that just occurred that was very bad and hoping that “this will be the last time – I hope it’s gone now / I hope it’s gone away / And it won’t come back again / To see another day.” Although, I thought the last two tracks seemed disconnected from the flow of the other songs, (which I didn’t mind because they were some of my favorite tracks) this follow up from a one-man band, who was just “on the road looking for something to do” is pretty darn good.
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