96Avenue are a rock band from Italy. In the couple of years I’ve been writing reviews I’ve had some interesting Italian bands give me albums to review, and I’ve noticed a bit of a classic progressive rock influence in the sound of these bands. In 96Avenue’s case, there is more of a classic rock sound than a progressive sound, but it’s there. Their seven song EP Distance ranges from many different kinds of classic rock, mostly pop/soft rock.
As per usual with any independent band, I never know what to expect come time to play the album. Opening track Holes starts things off on a basic note. It’s not loud or intense, it’s mellow with very soft vocals and keeps this up quite consistently throughout its short timeframe. It’s not particularly the in your face intro I’d expect from an album, but it does the job fine.
The first half of the EP in general is fine. Freedom Killer has a soul to it that I wasn’t expecting based on Distance’s opening track and Red Stream heavily adds keyboards. Musically both of these songs are fine, I may even say they are well written, but they lack a true punch. Almost two minutes into Red Stream is when singer Marco Gerosa finally sings loud and lets his voice really be heard, which is something I wish more of these songs up to this point had to them.
The second half of Distance shapes up fairly well with Mad World. It’s a very poppy song, and it sounds like a disco song at times, but it has hooks and a memorable chorus that the first half of Distance didn’t have. Oblivion is the most progressive song on the album. It goes from operatic piano playing to surprisingly heavy guitar chords. It’s the best written track on the album from beginning to end with many different moments to love. Then there’s 96Avenue’s ballad Loneliness. Actually it isn’t completely a ballad, but it is the most heartfelt song on Distance.
Distances closing track is Friends. It kind of fits in to the first half of the EP in that I wish there was a little more punch to the song. It doesn’t quite keep my attention the way I’d hope it would, despite being well written musically. I especially like how the song seems to end, then comes back for some last afterthoughts of music to leave Distance with some good and powerful notes.
The best thing that 96 Avenue displays on Distance is their instrumentation and songwriting. Just about every song is impressively written, whether it’s in a progressive state of mind or a traditional rock song. The singing lacks intensity to keep up with a lot of the music behind it, which makes something seem off about Distance. Marco has some powerful pipes, as are finally apparent right at the end of Friends, and I just feel he should use them a lot more.
“Oblivion” – I think I described it pretty well during the review. It shows 96Avenue’s strongest point – their songwriting – at its best, and the vocals aren’t bad either. It shows the bands soft side while also displaying some heavy parts that sound like nothing else on Distance.
7 (Out of 10)
|2||Freedom Killer||96 Avenue||3:41|
|3||Red Stream||96 Avenue||4:15|
|4||Mad World||96 Avenue||3:43|