The Australian band THE ARTFULS, which actually formed in Porto, Portugal, is comprised of brothers Tyran Bowers (drums/vocalist) and Michael Bowers (guitar) and Darcy Nendrick (bass) who recently released their debut EP Long Trip Home an enthralling jaunt through the band’s creative mix of modern and vintage rock and roll music.
The poignant, reverb-laden chords gently strumming along to some simple percussion at the beginning of the album in some ways trick and mislead listeners. For within a minute, the artful melodies of the lonesome guitar are overtaken by a screaming chorus of guitars that blow the listeners’ minds and ears simultaneously. Alternating from soft and simple to loud and audacious multiple times, “A Scale” serves as an engaging opening track that leads listeners into the heart of the EP.
“You Talk” conveys a heavy minor quality, and its moderate, plodding tempo adds to the melancholy tone of the song. The chorus of the song breaks out from the more reserved verses, and the gravelly vocals carry on the acerbity of the harsh pounding drums and wailing guitars. The track includes an extended instrumental section, fostering an aura of reflection and emotional expression that lasts beyond the end of the song.
A surprisingly decisive change in style greets listeners in “All Over Town,” which is filled with acoustic instrumentation, melodic singing and an almost playful rhythm. The tune is driven by a solid beat partnered by falsetto-laden vocals that are accompanied by barely noticeable harmonies. These added voices are needed in order to give the song crowd appeal, as well as cultivating a musical dimension that might not be readily apparent to the inattentive ear.
THE ARTFULS return to their typical style for the closing song of the EP “Disarray.” Tyran Bowers all but whispers the lyrics behind a gradually building ensemble of shifting chords and adroit picking. The band proceeds full tilt, letting loose in an uproar of power chords, crashing cymbals and screaming voices. Bordering between the two extremes throughout the length of the track, the song finally ends in a slow decrescendo of faded guitars, leaving the listener wondering if the EP is really over or not.
Long Trip Home is all anyone could ask for in a debut EP. The band plainly makes their musical intentions known, while still leaving room for expansion and improvisation. If the EP is any indication of the innovation and musical individuality THE ARTFULS possess, then much more fantastic music is sure to follow.
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