The self-titled album consists of 14 solid rock songs. Since Souls A Fuse isn’t a band that thrives on diversity the album does tend to become too much of the same, but the songs themselves show promise. But maybe the album would do better if they had stuck to only 10 or 11 songs instead. Musically, “Souls A Fuse” is a pretty strong album; not mindblowing, but it’s better than a lot of other debuts. You can tell the band took their time to carefully craft each song into the final product. And some of the songs have pretty good rhythms and melodies and there are a couple songs that have the potential for some good airplay on college radio or other minor radio stations.
While being the title of their EP, Under The Spotlight didn’t appear on the demo. It does, however, open their full-length debut. And it sets the tone for the rest of the album, as it probably is one of the strongest tracks on the album. It fits in the alternative rock tradition that has a big following in the LA area. Just like bands like Staind and Breaking Benjamin they use more mainstream rock approaches to make their sound more melodic, yet Souls A Fuse manages to stick to their somewhat ‘heavier’ sound. The song has a recognizable melody and after a few listens you get to appreciate it more and more. While I was somewhat unimpressed the first time I heard it, the song has gotten to me more and more over time and I think it actually has a lot going for it.
Souls A Fuse continues the fast-paced rock on Empty Hallways and while it sometimes sounds a little forced, the song in itself is pretty strong. It reminds me of fellow LA rock bands Untyde/39 Reasons, because they showed the same energy-based, promising alternative rock that Souls A Fuse presents us with. Of course they’re reinventing the wheel, but who cares, we all need spare wheels one day or another.
With Panic Attack, the band shows their creativity. After a spoken intro, the band slowly builds up to a pretty interesting melodic rock song. The vocals are a little inconsistent at times but in general, Panic Attack is a pretty cool song. After that we get to hear the new version of Mr. Stoneskin which was by far the best song on the EP and definitely gets a nomination for best song on this full-length. The band plays together cohesively and puts on a great performance. The vocals fit the song that fits in the tradition of July For Kings & Smalltown Sleeper. A catchy rhythm and energetic delivery give this song a very likely shot to do well on underground rock radio. It’s one of those songs that you can like right when you hear it the first time.
Next To You is slightly paced down and has a more mainstream rock approach. The acoustic intro brings Goo Goo Dolls to mind, and the keys are a nice tough. I didn’t particularly liked the mixing of the song and while I kinda liked it on the EP, this version doesn’t really do much to me either way. I don’t love it, I don’t hate it. I like it, but that’s it. But Souls A Fuse redeems itself with another familiar song. The uptempo All Falls Down definitely got stronger compared to the version that appeared on the EP. The infectious song with strong guitar and very decent vocals is another underground rock radio promise. The uptempo chorus is ’round’ enough to be melodically interesting and Souls A Fuse delivers another quality rock song. And to make things complete, the final EP track, Fast Forward, is up next on the album. It was one of the best songs on the EP and it doesn’t disappoint this time either. The tension that’s being built up in the song gives it a good basis and the passionate delivery of the song is contagious.
So-Call Hottie is a fun song. I can see how this song would be one of the cooler live songs, as it s uptempo and very energetic. It’s not the most impressive song on the album, but it does manage to get the listener involved, which is one of the most important things for an energetic rock band to accomplish. On the slightly slower So This Is Goodbye it becomes obvious that this band reaches greater success on their more energetic and uptempo songs. While the song isn’t really bad it can’t keep my interest for the whole length. After awhile it feels like it’s smeared out, musically.
Right from the first time I heard Smile I liked the extra edge and more alternative and harder approach to the song. It fits this band and it’s a good outlet for their energy and helps their live-approach playing style. The band comes together in this song and most likely produces its top song, maybe only rivaled by Mr. Stoneskin. And they continue strong with Hold Your Breath which also has a bit more of a harder and more industrial influence. The band shows they are quite capable as they change intensity and tempo and work it out to an excellent alternative rock song.
One True Dream is a decent song, but once again I can’t say that I’m too impressed. There are too many similar songs out there and One True Dream doesn’t really top all those other songs. It’s a nice change of pace and it’s played well, but it’s not their ticket to stardom.
On 1014 South Souls A Fuse proves me wrong when it comes to slower-paced songs. Earlier I said they should just stick to the energetic, intense, uptempo rock songs, but this slower song is done very well. While vocalist Dan Cable needed a few seconds to warm up, the song is definitely their best slower song. And on the piano based closer See You Soon I can even hear some classic influences and the transition from more laid-back piano-rock to a more full-blown alternative edge gives this song the epic character a good rock closer requires. With See You Soon the album gets a very strong ending.
During the time I spent listening to the album and working on this review I’ve been a harsh critic sometimes, and I still believe with fewer songs on the album, it would’ve been stronger, but in essence this is a band that has a lot of promise. Songs like Under The Spotlight, Mr. Stoneskin, Fast Forward, So-Call Hottie & Smile show that they are very capable of writing strong alternative rock songs that have plenty of live potential and can get serious airply in underground rock radio. I believe that with some more time and hard work, this band could grow into a very prominent force in the underground rock community of L.A. and maybe even more than that.