(Calm Your Blood)
Local H, Brand New
This new band from Melbourne, Australia is labeled as punk, well to our surprise, they are anything but punk. It’s more middle-of-the-road alternative rock than anything else. This EP contains only five songs and we must say that the music on this album is good; perhaps it’s what kept it from having a 1 rating. If this were an instrumental album, we could see this as having a rating of at least a 5.5 or 6, but what held this back you may ask.
Well, it all boils down to the vocals, they are hard to get through. There is no vocal range at all between the lead singer and the background vocals. Sometimes they are off-key and don’t synch up together, it just brings everything down. And just when you think there is going to be a moment of nice intrumental work, the vocals interrupt everything. There are times when the lead vocalist tries too hard to sound like Tom York of old and he just doesn’t pull it off. In fact, when he hits a high note, look out, it can be cringe-worthy. You will hear this right away on the first song "They Kicked Me Out of the Empire Mama". On the track "Gethsemane," it’s more of the same, except the vocals are a little more on the whiny side. "Monuments" actually starts ok, but when the background vocals appear, it just feels off and the chorus is hard to swallow. We applaud the Chevelle-like effort in "Monuments," but it comes off weak. On "You’ll Be Smoke," the music is quite good, but the vocals again are just too overwhelming; it’s a shame that the music isn't allowed to breath and take over for a bit. By this point we were hoping to find one redeeming factor on this album with the last cut "Drunk Letter" because you never know; there could be one song worth saving. Unfortunately it provides nothing different.
The first issue we have with this album is that it’s labeled as a punk, when it is actually plain rock, there is no punk attitude here. Second issue is the vocals, and by now, we’re sure you know how we feel about them. The only redeeming quality is the music, which is pretty good, but it just gets buried and plays second fiddle to the vocals. We’ll just put this one away for a while and check back from time to time, maybe they’ll release an instrumental album in the near future. - 9/3/2014
Standout Tracks: You'll Be Smoke