Review Summary: Summer ain't over yet...
With summer entering its twilight and the chilly vestiges of autumn just around the corner, many people like to switch gears from the energetic and aggressive sounds of summer to the more appropriate mood that is associated with autumn. Still many other people appreciate a good banger anytime of the year and it seems Solid State Records have found another winner with The Ongoing Concept’s newest offering Saloon
. It’s hard to get more close-knit than this band, which consists of three brothers and one very close friend, and the music radiates this bond throughout its runtime. The energy exhibited here is palpable and save for a few instances, unrelenting. The band channels this cool fire by way of some crafty guitar play, well produced drumming, and a stellar vocal performance.
A band can have all the energy in the world but if they lack a penchant for songwriting, all the sweat they exert will be for nothing. Saloon
is an example of the perfect amount of experimentation gelling with fresh instrumentation wrapped up in a faintly (wild) western package. The album opens with some nice parlor-core in its title track “Saloon” and serves as a damn good template on why this album succeeds. This song, and almost every other, grabs your attention with its sharp balance between its novel presentation and catchy metal roots. If not immediately evident from the album title, Saloon
has a theme that is vaguely southern as well as vaguely wild western in sound. The band does a good job not soaking this record in zingy southern sauce but by use of a banjo here, a southern rock lick there, and especially the parlor music portion mentioned earlier, applies just the right amount of southern bite to the record to let you know of its influence.
The skill in this delicate balance attained here is brought about by the band’s seeming aversion to unoriginality. From the music video of “Cover Girl” to information online about the group, the ever-present notion is that of originality. Luckily the group need not eat their own words as Saloon
is largely original in many different aspects. As mentioned before there are three primary factors contributing to Saloon’s
refreshing sound, the largest of the three being the guitar. The hooks and riffs here are varied, catchy, and most importantly they keep the album interesting. Along with the guitar, the drums sound dense and give the heavier portions of the album a distinct weight which adds immensely to the energy this band exudes. Lastly, the vocals are also well executed, loud without sounding whiny and powerful with a very noticeable air of confidence throughout the album’s runtime. It’s the magic of having your brothers as your band mates.
Unfortunately the slower songs on the album don’t emanate the same emotion the faster songs do in spades and while it doesn’t drag the album down, the stark contrast in the quality is a little jarring. Even so it was a choice between make the whole album fast songs and risk wearing out the listener, or add slower ones to break up the pace. This is just another one of the many applauded decisions The Ongoing Concept has made in creating Saloon
and those not quite ready for the energy of summer to end can stave it off a bit longer by picking this up.