Thursday, December 20, 2012

SBSR: excuseMesir “With You In Mind”

excuseMesirWith You In Mind
<1> “Lizards” – And we begin with the crazy guitar work I expect from excuseMesir.  Here comes the vocals ala Canterbury Effect.  Whoa, I don’t remember there being a female voice in excuseMesir before.   This is like a mix between Alabama Shakes and math rock.  It’s kind of crazy to think about it on paper but it somehow works.    And at two minutes the male vocals are back before the females kick in again.
<2> “Siren Song” – This starts like a slowed down version of “Everlong” by Foo Fighters, but then the vocals come back in to remind me of Corrine Bailey Rae and the like.   Near a minute and a half it gets kind of funky, but I can still hear that familiar female sound.   Now the male vocals are coming back, which is a nice touch. 
<3> “Fools Gold” – Both male and female vocals are starting this song.   Excellent guitar solo near 1:20.   The pair seems to be singing together still, which is nice.  This is a somewhat softer song, kind of like The Police or so, but don’t quote me on that please. 
<4> “Dead Weight” – This is getting closer to the soul side of rock, it’s got that little bit of funk in it, like when The Stryder lost their singer and Pete took over, but it’s still female fronted.  I don’t know, I’m digging it.  I think it’s working.
<5> “Sleep Well” – I really enjoy the way this one started.   And at the minute mark we get some Canterbury Effect style screaming from the male vocalist.   Any images of this copying Alabama Shakes or any other band you might try and relate it to were just shattered.   Now we’re alternating between the female vocals and male screaming.  The guitar gets into a heavier math rock for the screaming too (Almost like a more hardcore version of the riff from “Say It Ain’t So”) and so the balance between beauty and chaos is simply brilliant. 
                Recently, I’ve given up doing the “Overall Review” at the end of the SBSR, but considering that excuseMesir has gone from a SBSR of their free demo to this five song EP- and with a pretty drastic change- I felt like this needed to be said.
                There is literally a lot of music in this world (And I mean A LOT).   For every band you know about, good or bad, there probably exist a hundred or more other bands.  So when we have this revolution of women going on in the somewhat mainstream music scene (Norah Jones, Corrine Bailey Rae, Alabama Shakes, St. Vincent, Kimbra, Sleigh Bells, Dead Sara, etc.) it’s hard to try and make it even more as a female fronted band… Or maybe it’s easier since there are so many more women breaking through.  I don’t know because I’m not in the business of deciding who makes it to that level where they’re “cool popular” and not “radio popular”.  
                My first thoughts were “Why did these guys add a woman to their mix?  There’s already enough of that out there and they seemed fine before”, but what I really meant in my head (And this is what you’ll feel, if you’ve been following this band since the demo) is simply that when you listened to their demo you thought it was that good that it didn’t need anything added to it, such as female vocals.
                The fact of the matter is that neither I nor you are a part of this band so no one knows why they made this decision.   But does it work?  If you’ve never heard the demo you can appreciate this as just being a soulful woman singing to some complex musical styles that you not only don’t hear often in female rock but just in music in general.   Could there be comparisons made to Alabama Shakes?  In song structure and standing out, but on the whole they have more of the indie-math rock vibe going on than the blues you hear from Alabama Shakes.   
                Most importantly, these are five songs.  Let’s see where excuseMesir does after this.  I have a feeling that they could make a most excellent full length.

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