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Famous Underground - In My Reflection

Famous Underground
In My Reflection
by Frank Dashwood at 09 October 2021, 9:09 AM

Have you ever listened to a band you've never heard before, and thought, "there is just something "off" about this"? I mean, like you've got a check-list of elements in a song, and all of the elements are of at the least "good" quality. And on the way to the kitchen, the cook trips over his own foot, falls flat on his face, and spills all of the elements on the floor. Only rather than going back to the store, and getting more elements, he just sweeps it all into a pile, scoops it up, and throws it in the oven. The result was my experience of this EP. Good guitar work, but the sound is dull, and confined. The bass is solid, and present, but so little identity, or agency, that it's seamlessly camoflaged into the background. Leads are top-notch, and undersold…isn't there like, a "volume knob" on that thing? Drums…competent and consistent, but I'm not sure I've heard less aggression put into the effort of playing drums. Dude…don't let guitarists write your parts. They aren't drummers. And lastly…"someone" must have let the singer manage the volume levels, because on most of the songs, his voice is 70% of the "music" coming out of my speakers.

"Until The End" perked up my ears. About 2 minutes in, one of the 3 guitarists busts into some of the best leads on this entire EP.  On "Ultra Mega" is where I the only spot where I got any impression that this band fit the descriptor "progressive". I'd read that they'd been billed as being "progressive", and had been listening for it, but the rhythms, and leads up until this point felt kind of lack-luster, and straight-forward. On this one, it was a little different, with the rhythm changing in a few odd, but highly passable transitions. It smells a lot like "Skin Of My Teeth" by MEGADETH. Around the 2 minute mark, some pretty epic lead work. I feel like this song was last one written, or recorded. It seemed like it was the only song they were comfortable enough with one another to kind of relax, and have some fun.  By "Like An Animal" they were back to the slow, repetitive presentation that was dominant throughout this EP.

I'm not sure if it was the singer's voice, or the stylings of the lead guitarist (although he was clearly no Vito Bratta), I keep wanting to say this reminds me of WHITE LION. I think what I found most lacking about this release was "intensity". It just wasn't there. It wasn't in the speed. It wasn't in the skill of the players, or complexity of their parts. In bands I really dig, there is almost always a sense of seriousness about what they are doing, and it results in an "intensity" you can sense on the snare strikes, and guitar picking. I just didn't get that from this album. Not to suggest that the players involved aren't capable of delivering it. While I am confident they can, I just didn't hear it on this EP.

Songwriting: 3
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 5
Production: 2

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Dark One Of Two 
2. Corrupted 
3. Until The End 
4. Ultra Mega 
5. Like An Animal 
Lineup:
Nick Walsh - Vocals/Guitar 
Wolfgang Verbeke - Guitars 
Darren Boyd - Guitars 
Laurie-Ann Green - Bass 
Desche Sparboom - Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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