02 September 2010
If I were to say I’m not too particular about my music, it’d be a bit of an extension of the truth. I am particular about my music…but I’m not particular about the style. So long as it’s good, I’ll listen to it. Of course, good is a subjective descriptor, and not at all something that can be mathematically quantified…you’re not going to pop into the local independent record store (which is where you’re buying your music, right? Supporting the locals and all that, right?) and see CD’s with a little label on them that reads 35% good or 78% good or whatever. You know what’s good just like I do…our definitions of good are just likely different from each other.
And that’s good.
I spend a lot of time on a variety of progressive music forums. Part of this is selfish…it gives me a chance, once I’m involved in the forum, to ‘pimp out’ BPB on an occasional basis when the topic allows. I’m not a blatant spammer…I like to think I am more subtle than that. But seriously, if I’ve written about something that is germane to a conversation, I have no qualms sharing a link.
The other good thing about this is that I find a lot of new bands that way. I get a lot of e-mail every day (please note that this is a bit of an exaggeration…realistically I get 8 to 15 mails a day) about the blog. Some of it is from artists I have just covered, complimenting on the review (but usually only when it’s good), or their labels, or their PR agents. Some of it is from artists or labels or PR agents asking for a review, and offering to send out a promo (or give me a download link). But that’s still just a small portion of the new music that’s out there. Forums like ProgEars or the Progressive Music Society mailing list are great places to discover new bands too.
So it was that someone a bit ago posted a link on PE about a band called The Revere, hailing from Warrington PA. The thread pretty much sunk with little trace, but the fact that they were offering up a free download of their album The Great City was intriguing. Free is a price I can generally scratch up, so I downloaded the album…whereupon it sat for the last month as other promos piled on top of me in precarious piles poised to pummel me without the slightest bit of prodding.
Yeah, I’m verbose tonight.
So. The Revere. Warrington PA based 3-piece band, and their first album, The Great City, ‘the first installment of a two part journey concerning individuals called in a dream to follow an Old Man to an unknown destination.’ That certainly sounds prog, doesn’t it. Multi-album epic tales…what’s not to like or love there?
The Great City, firstly, comes with a lot of supporting material. Firstly there’s a PDF with a 31-page short story. It’s an enjoyable and engrossing bit of fiction that helps to set up and expand upon the album. Secondly we have the lyrics booklet. Here’s where I get to say ‘good on ya!’ because it’s a free download and they were thoughtful enough to enclose lyrics. No, it’s not a nicely printed booklet I can hold in my hands while I lounge and listen, but it’s something more than I get with a lot of downloads (legal, mind…please assume when you see me mention downloads about myself that it’s legal, cos I don’t do the other).
Then there’s the songs.
11 tracks make up The Great City, with a total playing time of 39:39. Do the math…songs average about three and a half minutes. No 15-minute epics here. No grandiose, swelling, majestic synthesizer chords. No 5-minute harmonised guitar solos. These songs are lean, mean and snarling. For the most part, The Revere’s style leans much closer to the kind of mature intelligent punk that typify Green Day’s last pair of concept albums (and did you ever think you’d see Green Day mentioned here?). There are differences, of course…Green Day would never write a song as sombre and sorrowful as ‘Rest,’ with some very nice harmony vocals and a very mellow, almost pastoral feel. Title track ‘The Great City’ also aspires to something more…while the beats are stentorian and strident, there’s some very interesting things happening lyrically, and while there may be next to no instrumental pyrotechnics, they’re replaced by some pretty tight songwriting. There’s also (gasp!) some keyboards here (at least it sounds like it), and it’s practically an epic by the standards of the rest of the album…over 5 minutes long!
Patrick and Sean Kelly harmonise nicely on vocals, and they’re really the two most prominent musicians on The Great City. Sean’s guitar playing is filled with attitude, and he is not at all sloppy…his rhythm chops are tight and waterproof. Patrick is an enjoyable drummer to listen to…he relies on splash cymbals a lot, but he also flails away on the more energetic rock pieces with a Moon-like abandon. I wish at times that I could hear more of Mike Pearson on bass…he’s very well used on album opening track ‘Sleep is a Celebration,’ with some very nice melodic lines under the vocal parts, but a lot of times he seems a bit lost in the mix. I know that this isn’t music that demands intricate bass lines, but he’s shown he can do it, and it adds so much to the songs when he does.
So, a couple questions arise at this point…
1) Is The Revere Prog?
2) Is The Great City Prog?
3) Will you like it?
4) Why is a mouse when it spins?
The answers are as follows:
1) I don’t know. I think they could be. Lyrically they’re definitely more involved than most other bands of similar ilk out there (are there in fact bands of similar ilk out there?). Musically they’re just enough removed from the kind of punk/emo/screamo bands that have flooded the market to be considered evolutionary in their own way. Are they like Coheed and Cambria and Mars Volta (two bands I see used as descriptors for them)? Not at all.
2) I don’t know. Musically, I’d say no. I think that’s going to ‘limit’ their appeal to many progressive music fans, and I am pretty sure they don’t care one lick.
3) Maybe? It depends on how willing you are to step beyond the bounds of what most people think of as progressive music. If you think that prog is the be all, end all, and everything else is kind of like that old SNL skit…you know, “Welcome to All Things Scottish - if it's not Scottish, it's craaaapp!!”…well, if you’re like that, I'm going to tell you to stay far the hell away from The Great City and retreat to the comfort of your well worn copy of Foxtrot (how many copies have you worn out already? 10? A dozen?). If you’re willing to dip your toes into something a little different from another Genesis or Yes clone, then you might well dig some of what The Revere has to offer…there’s some surprising intelligence bubbling through these pumping, post-punk tunes.
4) The higher, the fewer.
Sleep is a Celebration 3:24
The Old Man and the Inn 3:01
The Woman 4:03
With All of You Here By My Side I’m Not Alone 1:33
The Rose 3:31
The Valley 3:25
Giants I The Incline 3:17
Giants II Felix 4:52
The Time, The Light, The Heart 2:53
The Great City 5:22
Sean Kelly (guitar & vocals)
Mike Pearson (bass)
Patrick Kelly (drums & vocals)