originally posted on Wednesday, 2 October 2013
Having grown up in the 90’s, I have a pretty exceptional idea and memory of what music was like. My memory goes back to when I was about four and would hear songs like All Apologies by Nirvana or Interstate Love Song by Stone Temple Pilotson the radio. Then eventually I remember bands like Our Lady Peaceand Collective Soul coming in to playon the radio. I was only a kid though, not knowing what I was listening to. It was when I turned about seven that I started learning artist’s names; unfortunately that was right about the time the Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys hit the airwaves. A couple of years later, in the mid/late 90’s, probably ’98 or so, before I boycotted all modern music altogether, I remember the heyday of alternative pop rock bands that I quite enjoyed.
For the many who likely remember, the late 90’s contradicted the early 90’s in music. Where grunge was the thing in the former half of the decade, the latter half was dominated by a more happy sound; some of it by pop bands like the previously mentioned girl/boy bands, but also rock bands in the mainstream had that happy free spirited sound. Bands like Sugar Ray, Fastball, Smash Mouth, there is a bit more than a handful of them.
I eventually came to appreciate these bands heavily, partially because of nostalgia, but also because I started listening beyond the hits and realized that this was music not easy to duplicate; the bands themselves have tried it, some with luck and some with absolutely none. Unfortunately, the late 90’s aren’t really remembered as a significant period in time for rock music, so while bands like Matchbox Twenty and Third Eye Blind are capable of playing casinos and the odd amphitheatre, Sugar Ray andSmash Mouth, even when touring together, find themselves with cancelled tour dates and not nearly full venues.
But that was over fifteen years ago, and rock music has become much more prominent and more diverse as ever. You have newer heavy metal bands headlining amphitheatres again, you have bands likeMonster Truck who get tweeted by Slash telling them how much he loves their music. Then you have independent bands trying to make a mark, continuously making new sounds completely different from each other.
Among those artists is David Paige. David describes himself as “a sound that rocks harder than Pop but more accessible than much of today’s Alternative Rock” which is hard not to agree with once giving his EP This Is Love a listen. I can’t think of another band that I’ve heard more recently that is so in tune with the essentials of the hit rock music of the late 90’s, but with the intelligence of what it takes to sound like in the modern day. His band, The Skyline, consists of drummer Dave Brandwein, guitarist Nathan Hanek, keyboardist Brad Kleyla and bassist Joe Marcus, as well as David himself playing guitar and singing lead.
His EP starts off with the song Learn To Love You, a tune with a bit of Third Eye Blind to it. David Paige’s very easily accessible voice goes through a mix of emotions, staying low and determined during the verses, but turning in to pure passion in the songs understatedly strong chorus. The Matchbox Twenty influence is evident in the song Let It Go, with its jazzy riff heard throughout the song. The songs verses have an almost 80’s vibe to them, with a bit of a mystic sound accompanied by well toned guitars, with a chorus maintaining the happier sound of the album.
The EP’s third track, I Just Don’t, further shows the song writing capabilities and intelligence presented with the most heartfelt of the five tracks. The song is predominantly a piano ballad, accompanied by the rest of the band as David’s singing voice adds an intended soft feeling. The next track, Shine, builds off of I Just Don’t, starting out with nothing but a piano and David’s singing, but a minute and a half in it turns into a passionate slow paced rocker. Musically, the track is the most full with the sounds of guitars and drums that don’t hold back.
The last of the EP’s five tracks is a bit more of a faster paced track, In The End. Probably the fastest of the songs, it still maintains the upbeat sound of the first two tracks but adds the intensity of Shine when it was at its most intense, making for a terrific conclusion to the album. I’ve preached many times in past articles of how albums should end leaving the listener wanting more, and that’s exactly what this track does, they pull out all the stops for this last track, showing that whatever you thought of them from the first four tracks was wrong.
While David Paige captures the essential sound of what made artists such as Goo Goo Dolls andMatchbox Twenty so successful, he also shows a strong independent drive and intelligence on what it takes to make it in music. The band is doing much more than bringing back an era, they are also, from what I can tell the lone soldiers, who aren’t afraid to be different from other independent acts and experiment with a style that isn’t indie, it isn’t hard rock, it isn’t post-grunge, it is just happy alternative rock music that fills a much needed to be filled hole.
“Learn To Love You” – It was between this and In The End, but I feel that David Paige’s song writing capabilities are best displayed in this track. The song goes from slow and determined to passionate and breathe taking, it is full of guitars and harmonies that just fill up the speakers, and has a heck of a guitar solo to end it off. All of that crammed in to a 5:12 song is impressive and would give any first time listener a great idea of what the EP is all about.
8 (Out of 10)
|Learn To Love You||5:17|
|Let It Go||4:43|
|I Just Don’t||4:14|
|In The End||4:42|