Review Summary: An accessible yet sophisticated debut that should catapult Storm The Beaches to new heights.
Through their short three-year career, Storm The Beaches have seemed to do everything they can do to be "new," and as a result haven't attracted a large amount of attention. They've released two EPs independently through Bandcamp, and now are part of a small record label (Apparition Records, responsible for three bands) that has handled the promotion and releasing of the group's debut full-length, Hemisphere. The producer for all three of the band's releases has had only one other major project as a producer for pop-rock band You, Me, And Everyone We Know. At the time of this writing, Storm The Beaches have fewer than 3500 likes on Facebook and their most popular YouTube video, which was not posted from the band's official channel, has around 3800 views, more than every video on the band's official channel combined. And yet, something seems to suggest that Storm The Beaches will be garnering some serious recognition for their first album. They've been covered on major sites like Alternative Press and AbsolutePunk leading up to the release, and their fan base has been growing exponentially as the release date of Hemisphere has approached
Most importantly, though, Hemisphere should help Storm The Beaches gain more fame because it's a damn good album. Storm The Beaches have gotten the attention they have because of their excellent pop-tinged rock, and this album is no exception. The most obvious comparison point for the band, at least superficially, is Silversun Pickups, thanks to lead singer Mark Mikina's high, somewhat female-sounding voice and skilled guitar playing. And, though the bands occupy slightly different genres, this comparison is accurate on a deeper level as well - much like the Pickups create radio-friendly alt-rock that's more intricate than one might expect, Hemisphere is at the same time accessible and complex. The power chords and straightforward beat patterns mesh well with interesting instrumentation, above-average lyrics, and drums that are more elaborate than they initially might sound. The 15 songs on the album are all similar enough to feel like a cohesive, if exhaustive, unit, yet they all differ just enough so that it doesn't feel like Storm The Beaches are rehashing the same outline too many times. "Rooftops," a re-recording from previous EP Gifts From Sea, is probably the most straightforward pop tune on the album, with its insanely catchy I-IV-I-IV chord pattern and a sing-along chorus, but a melancholy feel helps the song be interesting at the same time. "Something More" also goes deeper than average radio pop-rock, with complex drums and distorted guitars aiding in the instant accessibility and "fun" of the song yet creating a sound that's got a surprising amount of subtlety as well.
The only problem with Hemisphere is that it's a couple songs too long. Storm The Beaches pushed the release date of the album back about a month, no doubt in order to ensure that they wouldn't release an incomplete product. Unfortunately, the album can't quite hold the energy levels with which it begins for its full 67-minute run-time possibly as a result of that extra month of preparation. And not every song was really necessary, either; a cut or two around the middle third of the release would have helped the band's work rise from solid to something even more. However, that's a minor complaint, and not one large enough to prevent the good on the album from shining through. If all goes right, Hemisphere should accomplish a lot for Storm The Beaches. They've shown that they can hold their own on their first full-length release, and they deserve more than the hype they've built up so far.
You definitely were spot on when you said they were female-like, I almost thought they were when he first started singing. I've never listened to Silversun Pickups so that comparison is a little lost on me.
Great review and way to give a fairly unknown band some attention. I'll have to keep listening and see if I end up liking his voice.
To @TheBrostepGuy - Hey man.. I am the Singer/Guitarist for Storm The Beaches. Thanks for the awesome album review... Very genuine and fair. It is extremely refreshing to have some constructive criticism and objectionable points of view as opposed to the people who just tell you everything is great... That really doesn't get you to strive for better and reach that next step. But also, I am really glad that you didn't just straight up bashed us and maybe you aren't really that huge on us (YET lol) but you really cut us some slack, found some common ground with the cd and really highlighted the parts you did like. Thank you very, very much for giving us an opportunity to get some spotlight and attention on your site. I really dig the site and the artists you guys have on here so I immediately signed up for it. But like I said, it was a really great review and I have shared it all over our FB's and Twitter accounts and our fans were really stoked about it. They all thought it was a really great review as well, so thanks man! I wish you Peace, Much Infinite Love, and Happiness!
~MosseyVenture A.K.A Mark Mikina lol!
To @Ecnalzen - Hey man! I am Mark Mikina. I do Vocals/Guitar/ and Write for Storm The Beaches. I understand that you are not really that thrilled about the vox but, I must say that I was really stoked to read that you checked out our CD anyway! I think that it is a 100% fair assessment about the whole voice thing that you had mentioned in your comments. Some people absolutely love my voice and, some people....Wellllllll, not so much at BEST Hahah! And I totally understand that ya know? Obviously as someone who does music for a living, I listen to a LOT of bands everyday. I try to keep up and listen to at least a couple new bands/songs each day. So obviously, I find a lot of bands that I just do NOT like a lot of things about them whether it is the vocals, the guitar tones, Etc. , Etc. But I was really, REALLY stoked and surprised to read when you said you were going to give us another shot and listen to our music and see if it catches you a little bit more... Hell, that is ALL that a band can ask for dude! So I applaud you for being so willing to give us a second shot, and a first shot for that matter. I mean, there are just some things about ourselves that we just can't change no matter how hard we try or how much we want to. A voice pretty much falls in that category lol. For the longest time I hated my voice and I was so self-conscious about it. Eventually after a long time I realized exactly that! I cannot change my voice! I will never have the voice of Wouter De Backer from Gotye, (who I love) or the voice and range of Mariah F word Cary... BUT, what I can do is work my ass off to make it better, the best it can potentially be. I can work to get it closer to how I would actually like it to sound ya know? (This somehow turned into a really long assed message, I apologize for that. But I felt Like I had to say it so the website made me split it up. lol)
I am still a little self-conscious about it at times, but I am only human haha. Well, all I can say is hopefully our catchy hooks will drag you in kicking and screaming so you will never be able to get away from listening to Storm The Beaches E V E R A G A I N ! ! ! Muah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
But anyway, I was wondering if you don't mind me asking, what kind of vocalists do you like? And who are your favorite or couple of favorite vocalists? Also, I must ask for my own sake, what exactly about my vocals do you not like. I really am quite curious. And don’t worry, you won’t offend me. Just give me your opinion and some constructive criticism so I can figure out if it is something I can work on or if it is just your personal preference... And of course then I have to ask, what are your couple favorite bands as well.
I know this already has been a really long comment and I apologize for that. I tend to just write everything I am thinking. Plus I enjoy meeting new people and talking with them… But anyway! I just wanted to share something with you guys that I think is really kinda funny/intense and almost embarrassing and it deals with what we have been talking about. It can be really interesting to say the least when I am reading through single releases (or for whatever reason we are being promoted onto a website) reviews or reading comments and they are like, "Yeah that song was pretty cool and all but, Man does that chick suck at singing."
Hahaha, (I am not referring to you guys here so, don't think I am making fun of you or anything) But for about every 10 - 15 comments really nice/kind/sweet comments we get, it seems that there is ALWAYS that one guy that really hates my voice or doesn't even know that it's not a girl that is singing.. And I always used to read the comments, and just get a kick out of all of the kind words and funny things people say, but then I would get to that one guy who hates it and hates my voice and it was such an intense thing to read knowing its about ME! When I first started this band, I was very new to someone having the ability to just trash talk your band right in front of you. I didn't really understand or know how to take that. My initial humanistic inner thoughts were, "well fuck you man, don't listen to it then." But then I realized, I probably somewhere down the line when I was younger have done something of the equivalent to what he put in his comment, and that it is always going to happen. I just have to accept it, Love him for his opinion anyway, and concentrate on the fans who DO like my voice. But from then on, I had a lot of practice in taking criticism from strangers and friends lol, cause it never really stops. We somehow picked the one working field that you literally make music to be judged hahah. It’s a crazy concept. But anyway, Ive gotten to the point where it is just funny to me and those are my favorite parts about checking out the comments. It is always a good laugh.
Alright sorry about the book I just wrote you guys... Let me know when you are ready for chapter 2. lol
I wish much Peace and much Love to the both of you, and I hope you discover an abundance of all of your greatest wants and desires. You guys are good people, I can just sense it lol. Have a great day Gents!!!
"Infinite love is the only truth: Everything else is illusion." ( ~David Icke )
Haha! ^ It’s just a funny (fake) stage name I picked out just to have a laugh lol.
That is a big ol' wall of text, lol. I've been on the fence about bands with questionable vocals (to me, anyway) that I've come to enjoy quite a bit after I gave them a few more tries (Senses Fail, Coheed & Cambria, Thursday). If vocals are the only thing that bothers me about a band, I am willing to see if I can get past it.
I would like to say that I don't think your voice is bad, it just has a unique flavor that is new to me and may take some getting used to. I listened to the first 3 or 4 tracks of your album and I did enjoy the music.