Hard Soul is an Albany, NY based five-piece band that formed in 2011 and has impressively released something every year since their inception. The band comprised of Johnny Salka (vocals / lead guitar / acoustic guitar),
Nick Kossor (rhythm, lead guitar), Stephen 'The Dome' Thompson (lead guitar / backing vocals), Ryan Klaeysen (bass guitar) and Mark Podbielski (drums / backing vocals) recently released Fairer Shores. There are four songs on this release, which can easily be split in two.
The first two tracks “It's All Gone Wrong” and “The Sweetest Heart” are certified emo infused power pop while the remaining two “Fairer Shores” and “Have to Be A Miracle” are acoustic based songs revolving around a couple of guitars and vocals.
“The Sweetest Heart” is a radio ready song that has all the production aesthetics you would expect from something you would hear on the radio. The guitars, bass, and drums explode during the chorus and are subdued during the verse. Salka's lyrics don’t need exactly need a lot of detective work.
Lines like “Oh please help me understand Why I'm not the only one for you I hope you get what's coming to you Coming to you” get straight to the point about what he is talking about. I have to say the lead guitar work towards the end of the song is good ear candy.
The highlight of the EP is “It’s All Gone Wrong” which contains the most infectious melodies. It’s hard to deny a chorus this catchy. He repeats the lyrics “It’s All Gone Wrong” until you believe what he is saying. The guitar revolves around power chords and an effective lead. The two acoustic tracks “Fairer Shores” and “Have To Be Miracle” don’t need a whole lot of explanation. Salka’s vocals are delivered in a classical emo style while one guitarist strums chords and the other provides the lead.
I prefer the full rocking version of the band but I think others may have a different opinion. Are you into smooth and mellow or something with a bit more edge? Fairer Shores is a solid fourth effort from the band. It isn’t reinventing the wheel by any stretch of the imagination but it works.
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