Some genres have staying power—once they're created there will always be a strong cadre of devotees bearing the torch and keeping the style. Such is certainly the case for the brand of popular radio or alt-rock established in the ’90s with radio stations still blasting the familiar anthems and countless bars ringing with cover bands on any given weekend. Rarer yet the recordings and performances by bands that pay homage to the genre by contributing something that fits in perfectly while bringing something new to the table. The Red Moons is one such band, demonstrating that there's still room for new material in a crowded catalog. Out of Touch is an enjoyable, albeit a bit uneven, album that channels raw alt-rock energy and refined song construction at its best and generic filler at its weaker moments.
Out of Touch has the important hallmarks of a great album from the mid-’90s: stellar rock vocals, ripping guitar riffs and solos and super tight rhythm and bass. Much like Scott Weiland in Stone Temple Pilots, the vocals can both sizzle and sear, often occupying that perfect space below shouting or screaming, rather sweetly snarling. Singer Anthony Sarillo delivers lyrics in a clear enough manner so as to be understandable, yet still exhibits a full range of intensity to be able to peel through a verse chorus. Sarillo also does guitar duty, so he's never competing with himself for dominance: the guitar is great at resting on a cool riff for a verse and ratcheting up the energy on the bridges and delivering solos that emphasize a songs best parts. Eric Olson holds down the bass, providing rich and full lines that maintain an instrumental presence and pulse the song forward when the guitar scales back for verses. Dave Haney rounds out the trio on drums, bringing a deep rolling style that kicks off most songs with great fills marking the many transitions on the album. For anybody remotely familiar with the genre, the music almost always does exactly what you'd expect it to next—which in no way is a bad thing. It's how the riffs and lines excel, plugged into that tried and true rubric that define the album.
Opening exceptionally strong, Out of Touch wastes no time in establishing its intent. The first song, sharing the album's title, starts off an extended instrumental intro, a clean guitar riff catching up with the drumbeat amidst deteriorating background feedback. The vocals have the clean, cool, yet reserved delivery of Heatmiser, before ramping up just enough for the chorus to channel some of that aforementioned Weiland growl. The song effectively builds up around the chorus, allowing it to coast back into a grove each time it falls back to verse or solo. The second track “Sink or Swim” opens up with a brighter and bouncier feel. Lyrics like, “Well I suppose, that I'm ready to dive in; and now that I've choose, I'm either gonna sink or swim,” set a straightforward tone for the song with a multi-faceted rhyming structure. The song is very well mixed with guitars, often alternating speakers and the various elements rising or falling in prominence within the mix. The song has multiple great parts and an awesome guitar solo over palm-mutes. “My Father” closes the album out with slow burning, high energy track that has hints of early-era Foo Fighters.
Unfortunately, much of the space between the above-mentioned tracks feels a bit repetitive and occasionally like filler. It's not that the songs are bad, they just fail to live up to the promise established by the first two complex, catchy multi-faceted tracks. It almost feels like going back and checking out a band’s earlier album where they were still nailing down their sound—familiar elements are there, just not as well developed. Don't get me wrong, there are some great drum, bass and guitar lines across the board, not to mention impassioned vocals, but most of the songs are built around a single riff or chord progression, but don't do much to deviate or develop it. The track “Jealousy” is an exception here with its soft start and sweet vocals as well as a stuttering and understated guitar solo.
Ultimately, it's a decent album with sharp peaks and some plateaus. The quality of the first two songs can't be overemphasized, as they demonstrate what this band can do at their best
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