Brand New Story is a four-piece band from Florida consisting of Ryan Shamus (lead vocals/guitar), Hans Smelker (drums), Jason Elek (guitar/backup vocals) and Curt Bennett (bass). The band boasts that they are a hard-rocking group of musicians who double as normal, productive, professional citizens. They all have respectable full time jobs any wife should be happy with. They released a three-song EP entitled The Ocean and it sounds about what you would expect from a group of guys who play music on the side. The album is a complete DIY effort and suffers from a lot of the same issues that other self-produced albums do. It sounds boxy, a lot of the instrumentation doesn't sound separated, etc. Let’s just say you know right away that Chris Lord Alge didn’t mix the songs.
The music is really straightforward hard rock. It contains a bit of Creed, ‘90s alternative and ‘70s classic rock and does little to separate it amongst the copious amount of bands out there. Shamus actually kind of sounds like Scott Stapp especially during “The Ocean” when he sings “If you were the ocean, I’d be an island / If you were the desert, I’d be the sea / If you were the ocean, I’d be an island.”
Some of the band’s best moments are when they veer away from distortion. “The Ocean” has some respectable guitar and fleeting moments of beauty. One such moment is when they incorporate the delayed guitar effect that makes its presence known during the verse.
The second track “Let The Night Die” sounds like Black Sabbath and possibly Spinal Tap inspired it. This song relies on distorted guitars and the production starts to give way. It wasn’t a badly written song and had a good energy but it lacks the visceral effect it could have had with better production.
The highlight was the third track entitled “My Darkest Days.” It displays the band’s best songwriting but also their willingness to experiment. The track really picks up steam halfway through where the band starts to flex their creative and technical ability. Each contributes to a better whole. Their finest moment come before the four-minute mark and I actually wish they had explored the space they were in a bit more.
For a couple of fully employed men who do music on the side I would say this is a slightly above average album. That being said it isn’t comparable to some of the best music out there right now. With this release I would say keep your day job but I’m sure they already know that.
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