NobodySomeone is an opening track with guts and energy. The vocals which are somewhere in between Matt Bellamy (Muse) & Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Audioslave) soar wildly throughout the song and the strong guitar work and tight rhythm secion provide for an opener with balls.
Portrait of a Summer Thief
This song was featured on the Spiderman 3 soundtrack and you can hear why this one was chosen. The music is catchy in itself and has some killer guitar hooks. This in combination with the superb drumming and the empathic vocals, provides for a good rock song that is not only commercially attractive but also inspiring. Definitely a break-through song for this band.
The slower paced rock anthem Wasteland shows that Sounds Under Radio performs strong in a different tempo as well. The vocals become more soulful and melodic while the instrumentals are more subtle and flow in and out of the spotlight as they support the strong vocals that represent the excellent lyrics. This song’s very fit to become a radio single too.
Sell Out‘s sound is somewhere in between Incubus & Muse, which is pretty much the area in which this band operates best. The alternative side of Incubus mixed with Muse’s melodic qualities is an area where not many alternative rock bands can go, because it is an ambitious path to pursue. Sounds Under Radio shows they are a band capable of pulling this off and Sell Out is a good example. One of the album’s finest songs.
Digital Lo-Fi is an uptempo rocker. It’s a good song with a lot of live potential and very strong vocals, but out of the 10 songs on this album it isn’t one of the strongest. But the more straight-forward rock approach does work well for Sounds Under Radio. Not their most inspirational song, but a very solid effort nonetheless.
We then arrive at the very best song on this impressive album. Picture Frame shows why my respect for this band grows and grows. It’s an ultimate radio single, and rhythmically as well as melodically the band does an outstanding job. The build up of the song is remarkably strong and the Anberlin-like catchiness combined with the Coldplay/Killers reminiscent guitar work & vocals makes for a song that appeals to alternative pop and alternative rock fans alike, which shows that a true rock band can really bridge that gap.
To really appreciate Teleprompter took me a good amount of spins. The song isn’t bad, but it just doesn’t really get to me as much as most of SUR’s songs. The melancholic, alternative feel of the song is cool, and actually gets some experimental Beatles bells ringing for me, but the emotional connection is missing. The direct line between band & listener. Musically it’s fine, but it misses that outburst of passion and direct connection that can make a song even more special.
We Are All Bright Blue Stars
We Are All Bright Blue Stars is another good choice for a radio release. The song’s catchy, alternative, yet very accessible. The uptempo alt-rocker has some indie influences (reminding of Delaware, Satellite State, The Killers) but doesn’t forget to rock out with strong drums and driving guitars. In a way it also reminds me of The Rasmus in their heyday, as they were also a band to combine true rock and passionately performed indie-like melodic lines. Sounds Under Radio does this even better though.
The darker rocker Lightspeed is another good entry on this 10-piece. It has that real alternative rock feel that bands like Staind, Hybrid L, Lazyeye & 12 Stones pursue. Out of these, Hybrid L is probably the fairest comparison as the melodic lines carry an important part of the band’s songs. On Lightspeed, Sounds Under Radio, performs at a high level once again, with clear vocals and well-balanced guitar work. The real strength of this song lies in its arrangement though.
The album ends with Perfect Machine which is a bit of a tuned down pop/rock song. The more mellow sound the band shows on this track is interesting, but doesn’t give them an outlet to perform their passionate and energetic ‘arena-sound’ with melodic lines and vocals. The more intimate contrast it provides with the rest of the album however, is done with care and precision, and therefore it is a satisfying end to this strong and solid album.
With “Cinematica”, a door is opening. Sounds Under Radio have been making a name for themselves in and outside Texas and with the increase of exposure comes the release of this impressive rock album. Songs like Wasteland, Picture Frame & We Are All Bright Blue Stars are very good examples of what this band is capable of. A whole lot!