The four-piece band A Step Ahead comprised of Jon Ingram (vocals), Colin Becker (guitar), Matt Seli (bass) and Derek Vadino (drums) recently released Failure by Design. A Step Ahead is a rock band that has a lot of pop punk tendencies. Ingram has an inflection of the pop punk vocalist prototype and a lot of the topics they sing about fit into the genre. For what they do they do it well. The production is top notch and the band is an extremely tight unit that is perfectly in time with each other.
The EP opens with “Over Dramatic” which is a highlight. It starts with waves of white noise from the guitars, vocals and build up from drums that lead to the verse. The verse revolves around start and stop power chords but the section around a minute in is what pulled me in. It contains an extremely catchy vocal melody. It’s certainly a single worthy song and one you could imagine being played on FM radio.
“Carless” is a solid tune which contains a number of inspired moments. The attention to detail and little things matter here. Take for example the background vocal harmonies and the cut up vocal part that are two minutes and fifteen seconds in.
“Funny How?” is a feel good, upbeat song that is easy to enjoy while “Same Old Song” barks up the pop punk vibe but with plenty of tricks up its sleeve. I immediately got a kick out of the title of the last song “Maybe (I Don’t Wanna Be in Love).” It’s the anti-love that I think plenty of people will appreciate.
A Step Ahead isn’t a genre-turning band but they know how to write a hook and make the little stuff matter. It’s obvious the band thought long and hard about every riff, drum break and interlude instead of working on a whim. If you are going to make music and spend time tweaking the nuances sometimes people will notice. I sure did.
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