The Neon Madmen formed in 2011 and is comprised of Owen Chamberlin (guitars, vocals, keys), Dave Le Sange (bass) and Chris T Towner (drums). Their recent release Climb is a straightforward pop/rock album revolving around basic chords, songwriting and not many surprises. The band’s strongest asset at this point is the vocals. Chamberlln has a unique voice, is a good singer and writes slightly above average lyrics.
Climb would be easier to enjoy if the sound quality was better. Climb is about on par with an undeveloped recording that you might be satisfied with after a rehearsal session to analyze a song. The music sounds thin in all areas and the only thing redeemable was the vocals weren’t buried in the mix. That being said, it was often the distorted guitars that ruined a mix. Perhaps the most baffling aspect is the recording quality. It gets worse as the album progresses (at least until you hit the fourth song).
Despite the recording quality the band has a couple of notable songs. ”The Fall Of Man” is a solid song. Chamberlin sounds like a mix between Dan Bejar and Morrissey on this track and the vocal harmonies are well done. The song is well written and has some decent hooks. “Blue Eyes Cold” is a good song overall and Chamberlin sounds eerily similar to Morrissey on this track. The melancholy on the track worked well on the band and I thought the piano work was also well done.
The other highlight was “Eva’s Song.” It’s not only the best written song on the album but sounds better than a majority of the other songs from an aesthetic perspective. It has some energy and build up that was easy to feel and embrace.
I like this band but they should figure out how to get a more professional product next time around. The songs with distorted electric guitar are on the verge of unlistenable. If they can do that and infuse a bit of originality into their music that separates them from similar sounding bands they will be well on their way.
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