Multi-instrumentalist Chris Scardino, who’s had a number of short runs with various bands for many years, finally decided to compile a “best of” collection of original material he’s written over the span of more than a decade. Recorded in New York and Florida, mixed and mastered in New York, his first full-length debut Dig The Surface, under the name 8 Evolutions, explores introspection and reflection from lessons he’s learned in everyday life. The album’s primary theme is about taking personal responsibility for the choices we make and also being authentic through life’s challenges, all the while having integrity when things are going well. Lyrics and info to each song can be found on the artist’s Bandcamp site.
On the opening song “Waters” I was already liking what I was hearing – synths with piano and this led into “Open My Eyes” a loud, highly charged arena rock type song that’ll get you pumped. The lyrics suggest those things that we sometimes put our trust into suddenly falls away or slowly fades out of view and makes us second guess our position in life. “Newborn” has a great guitar hooks and distortion, while carrying on the big rock sound. “Missing You” has a mix of tender sounds with a rock ballad composition. A short and sweet love song about missing someone special – very relatable and well done.
“Kids” features a good mix of hard-edged beats and guitar solos. Lyrically, the words can be geared towards the kid inside us who’s learned some hard lessons in life and/or seeing how kids cope with hardships these days while as older adults, we see things differently now. “Acrobat” has a nice snare drum in the beginning and it’s another softer sounding tune musically. The lyrics suggest having another side within oneself that you struggle with – a sort of falling away of your old self, into a person. “Spirit Guides” has a great, fast tempo, crunchy and tight guitar riffs and a lot of spirit from start to finish.
“Angels and Demons” begins with an interesting double beat on the snare and also synth accompaniment. This song to me was the most beautiful musically on the album, but perhaps the saddest song lyrically – “So I let you down again / Maybe I thought that we could still be friends / Didn’t think this time around / Would be the end.” The song’s title was a good way of describing two sides to a relationship. One that goes well one day, and then breaks apart the next.
“Girl” was perhaps my favorite on the entire album, simply because of the kick ass guitar riffs – very catchy, Scardinos’ hooks could remain in my head for days. The words to the song are about a girl who’s pretentious, selfish and plays the relationship game only to stab her lover in the heart and take their soul. But, in the end Scardino’s words catch up with this girl and she ends up only hurting herself – “Cold and dead, no thoughts of love are in your head / A grudge is all that lives / You don’t forget and don’t forgive / You’ll remain the victim that creates the pain / Until you take the blame, you’ll stay the same.”
“Ethereal” begins with a soulful guitar lick and bell chimes that kind of reminded me of Hendrix’s “Little Wing.” It’s another tender, soft number from Scardino’s catalog. The lyrics have a sort of lullaby-ish nature to them, which made this song another favorite. Lastly, with “Tidal Waves” prepare to have your ears perk up double time with an insanely fast guitar riff and drum beat. This song ends the album on a high note, just like the album’s opener. The lyrics speak of staying positive and optimistic despite the crap the life sometimes throws your way – “I’m sailing out on tidal waves / To the stormy skies / Fumbling with my sanity, but I’m all right.”
Chris Scardino has remarkable skill and talent as a musician and composer and his first solo project 8 Evolutions proves that solidly. His debut touches on universal themes and relatable issues, with musical styles that reach into the classic rock genre and rock ballads that touch the heart with inspiration.
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