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Egypt Central’s – White Rabbit Album Review

While doing some online music browsing recently I stumbled across Egypt Central. “White Rabbit” is their sophomore album and one that took some time to produce. This twelve track CD hosts a wide variety of musical tastes, as some songs are all-out hard core rock songs, while others are slower rock.

The lyrics are all very personal and clearly based on personal experiences. Egypt Central doesn’t just make up words for their songs, they sing about things they have experienced, hardships they face, and feelings they must deal with. I think the personal side of their music makes it very easy for people to relate. They sing about such a wide variety of stuff; drugs, heartbreak, abandonment, fear and power, so that almost any person of any background can relate to at least one of their songs.

Their first song, “Ghost Town” opens the album on the calmer side. This is not one of my favorite songs, there’s no real hook and the beat is kind of hard to get into. I thought this song was an odd choice to open the album and it didn’t really leave me dying to listen to the rest of the CD… but boy am I glad that I did.

“White Rabbit,” their second track and first single is one of my favorites! I could listen to this song over and over again. The chorus is extremely catchy, reflecting about Alice from Alice in Wonderland and her magic white rabbit. The lyrics talk about how they keep diving down the hole and can’t seem to break out of this terrible addiction that they have. The more I hear this song the more I love it. There is a line in the middle of the song where John Falls sings; “I won’t be pushed aside, I will be heard. I will get what I want, what I deserve.” And then the entire band repeats the line with much more heart and you sense that they are passionate about these lyrics.

“Goodnight” takes things a little slower. Another one of my favorite songs on the CD, this one really brings out Falls’ focal talent. He spends a lot more time in this song singing soulfully as opposed to screaming and rocking out. The tune shows a softer side to Egypt Central singing about a relationship that didn’t last – “Goodnight, goodnight, this pain won’t last forever.” Once again a very catchy song that’s extremely relatable, and by far one of the best displays of vocal talent on this album.

“Are you ready too… are you ready to… Kick Ass?” The fourth song and currently the band’s most popular, “Kick Ass” has been heard on radio stations and is quickly climbing the charts. I must say I don’t completely agree that this is the best song on the album. It is catchy and a good crowd pleasing song but I feel like there are other tracks that deserve more recognition. “Kick Ass” is probably the most upbeat, head-banging song on the CD. A very hard rock beat with loud vocals, it’s sure to get any rock and roll fan going.

“Change” is another more alternative rock cut and one that also accentuates the singer’s vocals as well as some good guitar riffs. I didn’t love nor dislike this song, it is a good track and suits the album well but nothing extremely different. It is once again a relatable song for most people who need to step up and make changes in their lives before it’s too late.

The sixth song on the album “The Drug, Part 1” is a fun song! On this one in particular, I really enjoy the guitar and drums more so then the vocals. It’s a very fast paced track that keeps my head nodding the entire time. It’s written about drugs, hence the name, and the band’s personal preference on their choices and beliefs on the drug scene.

“Down in Flames” is my least favorite song on the album. It’s not a bad song, just nothing special in my mind. They open with a man talking as opposed to music and the lyrics and beat just don’t really do anything for me. One thing I will say about this song is the guitar has some nice solos in the middle of this song.

“Enemy Inside, Part 2” is another one of my favorites, and another very slow paced song. I really like when Falls slows down the music and you can really hear his voice – which sounds amazing in the beginning of this song. The first verse gives me chills listening to his vocals. You can feel his relationship with the song. I like the lyrics, too, talking about the enemies we all battle inside ourselves. Sometimes our dark problems take control of us – “one last time to feed the enemy inside.” This is a great song.

Ah number nine, “Blame” – This song is a completely different type of song from any song on the CD; a very upbeat, fun song to listen to. The chorus is the highlight of this song – very catchy and the music backing up the lyrics works perfectly. We hear some of Falls’ more raspy vocals in this song and also a bit of his screaming talent. “Blame it’s a dangerous game to play, you better watch who you betray”- the lyrics couldn’t be more true.

“Dying to Leave” is probably the saddest song on the album. Basically a song where a guy just needs a girl to make up her mind and decide if she wants to be with him or not. This is a typical heartache song, well written and performed.

“Surrender” opens up with a very fun guitar, bass, and drum solo. They keep this upbeat tempo going throughout the entire song. It’s a very fun almost dance type track. Definitely not a song you can sit still and listen to. I guarantee you’ll be bobbing your head and tapping your feet by the end of this one. I love this cut and I think it’s very fun.

The last song on the album, “Backfire,” is an interesting way to close out an album. I love the song, it’s very slow, and the vocals once again are amazing. At first I doubted it was even Egypt Central; it sounded so different, but after a few listens I really like it. This track also features the other members of the band singing and it adds a lot to the song. An unexpected end to the album but I was pleasantly surprised.

Check out the album at iTunes:

Mother Mother – Eureka

Eureka! Yup, I’m a little late, but I finally got my hands on Eureka, the third album from Mother Mother, a talented and under-appreciated quintet from Vancouver, British Columbia. Definitely worth the wait for this diverse collection of alt-country-dance-funkadelic-harmonic rock. It’s impossible to classify their sound as anything but original; they sound like Mother Mother, period.  And, that’s just fine for open-minded rock and roll animals like myself.

The album is pretty damn entertaining and definitely worth a few listems. I strongly recommend giving it a few spins (and “yes” it is available on vinyl), as these ditties grow on you.

Eureka is produced by Ryan Guldemold, the band’s principal writer, lead guitarist and male vocalist. Mother Mother also features the vocals of Ryan’s sister Molly and Jasmin Parkin and their three part harmonies are found throughout. Those smooth harmonies coupled with their quirky distinctive music deliver a handful of unique infectious tunes.

The first four tracks are all excellent. “Chasing It Down” kicks off the album. The song is a roller coaster ride of mixed tempos, and features a hook from Ryan’s distinctive falsetto that will bounce in your head for days.  The harmonies from the ladies and 70’s influenced organ riffs are unique and entertaining.  It is followed by “The Stand” the first single released by the band, which features a humorous Boy vs. Girl call-and-answer vocal performance from all three singers. The song is not great, but the lyrics are, as evidenced by Ryan explaining his vices; “There’s women on bikes or just women who straddle.”

“Baby Don’t Dance” is my favorite track off of the album. I reflexively cranked up the volume to this tune, and it became an instant favorite and is just a total blast to listen to. Fantastic vocals, great keys, cool bass and guitar. Simply described, it’s just a great party song, possibly one of my Top 10 for the year. You may find yourself reminiscing about classic B-52 dance tunes. “Original Sin” gets off to a mediocre musical start, but the vocals as usual are superb, with all three vocalists playing key roles.  It’s another one that you’ll find yourself singing along with.

Those first four tunes are all very strong.  Afterwards, some of the songs seem a bit over-produced, but do a good job highlighting the band’s intricate harmonies and clear musical talent, including bassist Jeremy Page and Ali Siadat on drums.

“Simply Simple” is a beautiful song with amazing lyrics from Ryan, clearly showcasing the high end of his great range.  Again the harmonies are dead on.  They remind me of the beautiful harmonies from the 90’s talented yet under-the-radar Voice of the Beehive. “Simply Simple” is immediately followed by “Problems,” which again accentuates the band’s incredible diversity.  This ditty hearkens back to the more rockabilly sound from their earlier recordings.  The guitar is great, Jeremy Page’s bass is superbly hypnotic, and it’s just a blast to listen to. “Oleander” is a big song that again features great vocals, and nice keys.

The remainder of the songs are enjoyable, if not unremarkable.  I feel as though the band was trying to highlight their musicianship, harmonies and diversity. Personally, I’d prefer a few more like “Baby Don’t Dance!”

Check out the album linked below from iTunes, where you can get the entire thing, plus a few bonus tracks for an excellent price of $7.99.

 

 

The Last Royals EP Review

I recently had a chance to check out The Last Royals self-titled debut EP on Ooh La La Records, and find myself anxious to hear some more. The 5 song EP includes four original tunes penned by Eric James, one half of this New York City based duo. James had previously released these songs as part of his Early Hours solo project. The other member is drummer Mason Ingram, and since he has paired up with James, they’ve taken a new cut at these tunes.

The EP kicks off with “Backseat Lovers” probably the most raw song on the EP. It’s a song that is incredibly easy to listen to, and each time I hear it, I find something else to enjoy. The piano and keyboards lend a unique sound that is pervasive throughout, and it’s just a fun song to listen to despite the edgy lyrics.

I had previously heard the next track, “Crystal Vases” on Sirius XM’s Alt Nation; a quirky upbeat song oozing urban angst. The song was a hit on AltNation, and has been a constant in their Alt18 count-down for weeks, and for good reason. It’s a catchy song that gets better every time I listen to it. It reminds me of old Smiths’ records where you were driven to skip along happily despite the gloomy lyrics. It’s a great story, backed with fantastic lyrics, wrapped in a song you won’t be able to get enough of.

“Always To Belong” is the closest thing to a ballad on this EP and is another one that grows on me with every listen. The guitar and piano is subdued, highlighting James’ superb vocals. I’m not positive that I understand the message in the lyrics, but I wouldn’t be surprised hearing it on a soundtrack as we watch two friends on the screen coming to the realization that they’ll never fit in.

“Come Take My Hand” is another cut that is just easy to listen to. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one included on the forthcoming album, tweaked a bit and released as a single. The chorus is addictive, and again the vocals are excellent.

The EP closes with the “Crayon Remix” of “Backstreet Lovers.” It’s a more stripped down version of the song, and although less likely to be a hit, I like the feel of this version more than the original.

That’s it. Four plus songs; just 20 minutes of a sample, but clearly a nice debut that’s left me anxious to hear more. They evoke memories of Cake, Luna, MGMT, Foster the People and a slew of other Alternative rock bands, but it wouldn’t be fair to pigeonhole them as sounding like any of them. Their style stands on it’s own; it’s The Last Royals’ sound, and I’m thinking it’s going to be around for awhile.

Track Listing:
1. Backseat Lovers
2. Crystal Vases
3. Always, To Belong
4. Come Take My Hand (Demo)
5. Backseat Lovers (Crayon Remix)

Read our interview with The Last Royals’ Eric James

If you’re interested in hearing more of their music, including three interesting covers, check out their website at:

The Last Royals

Ooh La La Records