Review Summary: Meet Chris Walla's new favorite band.
The Berklee College of Music, a school known for its “contemporary” music education, has an extensive list of notable graduates. Oddly enough, many of these graduates are known more for simply staying in their little niche, not pushing music to its limits with their education. Rather, they simply stand out as some of the most talented and popular musicians around. The list includes Chris Pennie, John Petrucci, Steve Vai, and two of the Marsalis brothers: Branford and Delfeayo. John Mayer dropped out of Berklee. Via Audio now falls into this list of graduates with the release of saysomethingsaysomethingsaysomething.
Via Audio quickly picked up press with a few lucky events. After stumbling upon the band’s MySpace, Chris Walla namedropped them as his “new favorite band.” Following that, tons of Death Cab for Cutie fans hastily checked out the band, most of them enjoying the band because they have multiple similarities with Death Cab. As the band prepared to record the debut album, singer and guitarist Jessica Martins gave a tape to Jim Eno of Spoon. Upon listening to the band, he decided to produce their record. With these two huge names and full scale publicity from their record label and separate publicity agency 2:30, Via Audio plans to make a huge splash in the indie pop world with this album.
contains pure pop songs, hazy indie rock, and some songs that sound like a less technical Minus the Bear. While their music may not be pushing new boundaries, they certainly bring aspects to their table that make them stand out into an upper echelon of musicians in the genre. The first and most obvious becomes obvious on the first track, “Developing Active People.” They make perfect use of their male/female dual vocals, the harmonies well-constructed and always interesting. In the uptempo “Presents”, the chorus has some of the best harmonies on the album, with one voice ascending while one descends at all times. Most times, however, they sing on their own, each taking entire songs for themselves. Still, it presents variety to the album, something the band brings a plethora of. “Enunciation” juxtaposes a huge, sloppy, grunge-inspired chorus with an almost inaudible verse for one of the most interesting songs on the album. On the other hand, “Numb” has a more progressive feel, growing louder and louder throughout the song.
Amongst the ever-changing vocalists and song structures, Via Audio has a core sound that never goes away. A cool and collected mix of guitar melodies, piano and keyboard lines, and a solid but never outstanding from the overall sound rhythm section compose the instrumental aspect of the band. Whether it was Berklee-instilled or simple personal intuition, the band demonstrates their great concepts of many different musical styles. Certainly, saysomething…
is one of the better debut albums of the year and shows a generation emerging after Death Cab for Cutie and other “mainstream indie” bands, taking those influences and making something new.