Review: Going Out EP
By: Phil Lisotti
Ever since The Black Keys broke in to super-stardom not too long ago (and The White Stripes before them), there has been this surge in rock duos; bands with a guitar player and a drummer and that’s it, with one of the two, or both, providing lead vocals. Many of these bands are not well known in the public eye, yet, seeing as how this is quite a new thing, but I’ve discovered some relatively known bands throughout the past few months such as British Columbia’s Japandroids and American rock band IAmDynamite, who were lucky enough to tour with Sum 41 last year. Where I live, in the Greater Toronto Area, there are also a few bands such as Sorry OK Yes.
It’s a rather understandable concept; less members equals fewer egos which further equal fewer fights. There’s also the fact that it is easier and quicker to get a band together if there are just two members. Having trouble finding a bass player? No problem, the Black Keys can have just two members so can we. Having seen a couple (three to be exact) of these bands perform live, I discovered a downfall to this concept; the sound is not full enough to fill a concert hall. I almost completely wrote bands like this off until I saw Barrie Ontario’s Indian Handcrafts open for Billy Talent playing the Air Canada Centre, where the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors play. The fact that a duo such as them was able to completely fill a whole arena with sound like they did completely renewed my faith in the future of rock duos.
Anyway, that brings me to The Pyramid Ship. Completely unlike any other rock duo I have heard as of yet, this band mixes more genres than I’ve heard out of many bands in general (trios, quartets, quintets, etc). An indie rock sound with a 60’s garage rock feel and a full distorted guitar tone which at times creates an alternative rock blend, mixed with different vocal elements, this is sure to catch anyone’s attention as it did mine. The band consists of John Hogg on guitar and Charlie Morton on drums. John has had the most success out of the two, enjoying most of his success between 1997 and 2002 in the British alternative rock band Moke. He later formed Hookah Brown with famed guitarist Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes.
The Pyramid Ship’s debut EP Going Out may only contain four songs, but these four songs do the perfect job of giving an idea to listeners how the band sounds and what they are all about. Starting with its title track; truly a catchy song, starting right away with the “garage rock” Kinks-like tone of John’s guitar, its breaks in the music to make room for the singing of the verses, only to pick up in to a fun pop-punk like anthem of a chorus, never losing the great jamming feeling the song starts out with. It’s also one of those songs I enjoy that makes you think it is over with about a second of silence, only to burst right back out in to the garage rock classic that it is. (Hope I didn’t spoil the surprise there).
This is followed by the indie rock sounding Outside My Door. Immediately the song starts off less fun and more serious with its low toned instruments and vocals. This eventually bursts in to a very experimental rap-like vocal. Now I’m not one who usually enjoys when a singer breaks in to rap vocals in the middle of a rock song, I usually just tolerate it with bands like Papa Roach for instance. However, in this case I really enjoy the “rapping” that this song has. I find myself being moved by it as opposed to just tolerating it waiting for the singing to start again. That is all clearly personal opinion, but I think that shows exactly how unique this song is.
The next track, Riding, slows things down even more, but as the songs slow down more and more, the musicianship just grows stronger. Continuing with the experimentation of sounds, this song loses a bit of its jam feel and sounds more alternative, mostly thanks to the drum beat, which I find very Our Lady Peace-esque. This song also contains some “rapping” in its vocals, not as much as Outside My Door, but just like the its predecessor, the “rapping” vocals are in some sort of style that I just find far more appealing than usual for rap-vocals.
As the EP continues to get better and better, we find ourselves at the final track, Breaking Up. This brings back the fun feeling that Going Out had, but just like the EP’s other two tracks, there seems to be more concentration on the musical aspect of the song. The song does what any EP or LP’s last song should always do; it leaves you wanting more. By this point I don’t doubt the EP’s listener will be thinking what I’m thinking, “too bad it’s only four songs”.
There is simply nothing but promise for The Pyramid Ship. Being made up of two men who have been in the music business for long enough, it is no surprise. The musical intelligence presented on these four songs makes it obvious to its listener that this is not a band made up of kids. The band’s sound is something that I believe can appeal to a younger generation of rock music lovers as well as the generation before them; the generation that grew up in the 90’s and remembers when alternative rock music dominated the radio in the early 90’s.
“Breaking Up” –¬ Having already described the basic premise of the songs sound, I didn’t describe how it sums up all four songs perfectly. It is fun and witty like Going Out, but at the same time it has a bridge section that sounds nothing like the rest of the song, but sounds more similar to the slow and serious sounds of Outside My Door and Riding. It is hard to say which song from the album is the best song since they are all so different, but this is the track that should be first heard by anyone to give an idea of what the listener is in for.
8 (Out of 10) http://rockreviewphil.blogspot.ca/p/blog-page_21.html