Review Summary: A promising debut from the Las Vegas hard rockers, and a step up from many other radio-rock oriented bands.
Las Vegas. Sin City. The setting for CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The gambling capital of America (sorry Atlantic City). In recent years, several rock bands (Adelita's Way immediately comes to mind) have broken out from the music scene of America's favorite tourist attraction and garnered mainstream radio play. Most of these bands all have one thing in common: like the city they represent, their music is full of themes of hedonism and decadence. To that end, I present to you the latest radio rock band to break-out from Las Vegas: Otherwise.
The anchor of Otherwise is a pair of brothers, Adrian Patrick on vocals and Ryan Patrick on lead guitar. Together, they led Otherwise in relatively national obscurity for years. That is, until Los Angeles rockers In This Moment offered Adrian a guest-vocal spot on their single "The Promise." Thus, Otherwise became Fox News' pick for the #1 unsigned band in America and after various tours, Otherwise were eventually noticed by Century Media, who promptly snatched them up. A few months after their signing, Otherwise completed and released their debut album True Love Never Dies.
If you took the hint from paragraph #1, you will probably expect that Otherwise is a radio-rock band, and that is definitely true. However, their song-writing skills place them a notch above the rest of the Sirius XM Octane pack. Songs like Die For You & Full Circle have a definite post-grunge vibe, with crunchy alternative metal guitars, pounding drums, and powerful choruses. One thing that Otherwise does well, unlike other bands of their ilk, is interludes. The interludes (I, II, & III) introduce the songs that they are leading into and don't stick around too long. Although it might've been tempting for Otherwise to just slap the interludes onto the actual songs themselves, I can understand why they didn't. Adding the interludes to the songs that they lead into (Die For You, Silence Reigns & Heaven) would've made the songs too lengthy for what this album is trying to achieve.
One song I would to especially illuminate is the lead single Soldiers. One of the few songs from a unsigned band to reach #1 on the rock charts, it is easily one of the best radio-rock singles I have heard in awhile. The first verse features an almost country-western feel from the guitar lines and drum rhythms. As the title might suggest, the song does carry a military-esque rhythm throughout. The chorus is very powerful, and the lyrics are decently written as both a song for the military and as a representation of Otherwise themselves.
The lyrics on True Love Never Dies (the title is a tribute to Ryan & Adrian Patrick's cousin, whose passing heavily inspired the album) are pretty standard radio-rock fodder, but there are few lines that are actually horrible, and Adrian delivers all of them with so much conviction that the lyrics work well for the music. Adrian is a pretty good vocalist, and he is definitely better than some vocalists that I have heard on the radio.
True Love Never Dies is a good, but not great debut album for Otherwise. Unlike many new radio-rock bands that have cropped up lately, Otherwise seems to write songs with real meaning, and their music is filled with emotion. There are definitely improvements that could be made for their album, but for rock, Otherwise represents a potential to rise above the generic radio-rock of the world and create something with meaning and passion.