Here Below is a new band from Toronto (never a shortage of talent coming from here) that combine melodic guitar parts with complex drumming, catchy verses and a hard-rocking chorus. They meld a little bit of everything rock from the last 15 to 20 years into their music. On their debut album So, Still you hear a bit of 90’s alternative influence (Incubus) as well as contemporary bands like Local Natives and Radiohead. One of the most engaging aspects of So, Still is the more than impressive instrumental parts. The guitar and bass work is good, sometimes great, but the drum work throughout by Steve Song is exceptional. It’s one of those times the drummer really makes a difference. (Would Siamese Dream be what it was without Jimmy Chamberlin?). That being said the drums by themselves would most likely make for one boring album so I’m glad to report the songwriting is solid throughout. Not every song is a slam-dunk but more often than not these four guys are on the point of bringing down the house.
The first song “In My Time” begins with a soft picked, pretty guitar that is carried by a cascading tom roll that finally lets up a bit by the time the vocals are introduced. I was thoroughly enjoying the lead vocal line as well as the background harmonies before the band starts to rock.
The song lends itself to post-rock tendencies with distorted guitar during the last minute of the song. I liked the way the opener didn't stick to a typical verse-chorus-verse structure. It was ballsy and it worked. One of the highlights of the album is the single “Sign ON/OFF” The song follows a more recognizable structure but does not suffer because of it. If I was a betting man I would say that this song might be the most requested when they play live.
The title track “So, Still” has the band on point with intricate guitar work and metronome drumming during the first half of the song. Around the halfway mark the band rocks hard and doesn’t stop till the end.
So, Still is a solid start with a couple of memorable songs and I’d like to leave you with this – if you enjoy musicians who kick a ridiculous amount of ass at their respected instruments you need to listen to the drumming on this album.
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