I never thought I would hear R&B combined with punk rock but lo and behold that what Cicada Sunrise does on their recent release entitled Organic Damage. But wait there’s more - they stuff other genres like pop and alternative in there as well. It sometimes works and sometimes not so much. More on that later.
The biggest issue with this album is the mix itself. In particular the vocal seems separate from the music on a number of occasions. The music seems too soft while the vocals lay on top of it rather than within it. On top of that the vocals sound too raw and you can hear when the vocalist even goes slightly out of tune. A bit more reverb and proper use of compression could have helped this issue out.
The album starts with a soulful introduction entitled “The First Song” in which I wish the vocalist sounded more like the he does during the remainder of the album (at least the first part of the song). The vocalist is nuanced, deep and effective when he sings in an R&B style. There is hardly anything supporting his vocals besides other vocal harmonies. Suffice it to say it sounds great. When the guitars enter it doesn’t work as well. Some of this can be contributed to the mix itself but his voice isn't as easy on the ears.
One of the tracks that gets it right is “No Corners.” The music is somewhat engaging and the vocalist finds a good range for singing. It revolves drums, bass, guitars, piano and synths and leans more towards Brian McKnight than the Ramones this time around. Another success is “Don’t Flinch,” which plays into the band's strengths. They ditch the distorted guitars and replace them with piano. It gives the song a more classic R&B feel. This is also another example of the vocalist sounding his best. He pulls off the same tone during the verse as he did on the first song and that is unequivocally the style he should be shooting for.
Cicada Sunrise has some good things going for them but still needs some buffing around the edges. They sound best when the music veers towards R&B rather than punk. It also is in their interest to at some point work with a producer/engineer who can balance out their songs after the recording process. This is a work in progress with potential.
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