Senators comprised of Joe McCarthy (vocals, guitars, harmonica, organ), Chris Sprindis (bass), Abhay Singh (piano, organ, synth, vocals) and Bobby Cardos (drums, percussion, guitars) is a band that met its members founding in 2007 but only recently formed in 2013. Last November they released an eight-song self-titled album Senators that tips its hat to bands like Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band as well as Roy Orbison. The songs on this album have a classic tone to them. Maybe that can be attributed to that they recorded to tape but I’d say that most of it is due to the fact the band creates heartfelt songs that are anchored in heartbreak, despair and irreverence. Anyway you swing it the songs have the perfect amount of tape saturation and distortion that produces raw sounds that emanate from a live energy.
The first track “Shadow Of Love” is a triumphant song that feels like a revival. It doesn't hit the great heights of a band like Arcade Fire but it does embrace a rejoicing energy that is best listened to with as many people around as possible. “White, White Snow” brings down the energy considerably in a good way. The vocals are sung in a lower octave and revolve around an old school organ and ends up sounding like a song I would hear from the classic 50’s band The Animals. It’s a raw song and the guitar distortion is on the verge of sounding too harsh but it doesn't go there.
”So Long” is a sparse song that excels because of the vocal performance. There is no percussion until the segue but contains piano and guitar as the accompaniment. The most interesting part is the fade into The Doorsesque instrumental break that shows up towards the end of the song. “I Was Born” starts off with guitar that is panned hard right until about a minute in. It was a bit of a bold choice and I would have preferred that at least the vocal was panned center (which does happen when the rest of the band enters).
The album ends with “Oh Mercy,” which is another song devoid of percussion until the triumphant ending. It swells with gritty guitars and is arguably the best vocal performance on the album.
Overall, Senators bring a raw, visceral sound on their debut that feels immediate and human.
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