Sunday, June 19, 2011

Reviews: Hawk Boy (formally As Cities Burn) EP and Ocean Is Theory EP

Sorry for the slowness lately. I have gotten kinda lazy. Having a real job has been wearing me down. Anyways I am back this week with two quick EP reviews from the bands that show a lot of potential. First up is...

Hawkboy - Hawkboy EP

First I should probably describe a bit about Hawkboy. The band is made up of two members. Anyone who ever has listened to As Cites Burn will be excited to hear the two members are the lead singer and drummer of that now-defunct group. When I first heard of Hawkboy i just figured it would be two guys from the band who did not want to let it go so they went around playing old ACB songs with two people. Boy was I wrong.

1. Two Bit- The first track catches you right at the beginning. It has an immediately catchy intro that builds into some nice guitar, almost sounding like something from the 80's. This track lets the listener know that   the passion ACB could show in a song is still there in full force. It also closes hard like a lot of old ACB songs used to.
2. Soundrel- Great production value shows with this song. These guys still now how to mix there stuff even if they do not have label support anymore. This song feels like it should be right behind 84 Sheepdog on ACB's last record Hell or High Water.
3. Mother London- Probably the most simple song of the bunch. The guitar work shines and drumming is fast and sporadic.
4. Damnkneesya- This song goes back to ACB's Come Now Sleep. Very mellow and slow tempos, but very far from a boring song. Ends on a very moody note that reminds the listener the emotion this group can capture in a few minuets.

Overall- I honestly hate to keep comparing Hawkboy to As Cities Burn because they are not really the same band. The sounds mix Hell or High Water and Come Now Sleep but still sound new. The guitars, the drums, the vocals, the ambiance, they are all there in perfect form. The only complaint I have is the lyrics. As Cities Burn was always known for their gut-wrenching lyrics and I hate to see that be the thing they change to differentiate themselves from one another. They are by no means bad though, still more thought provoking then 99% of the crap out there. I was heartbroken when I heard As Cities Burn broke up so this EP gets me so excited to see where they go from here. The album is on Itunes and you can get it for free from their Facebook as well (but support them and buy it please, it is well worth it).

Rating 5/5 "It's The Bee's Knees"

Ocean Is Theory - Future Fears EP

This bands first full length album is my most anticipated album of the year, BY FAR. I have been listening to these guys for a few years now. They have only put out two EP's up to this point. Nine songs is all I have had to listen to, but those nine songs have gotten more play then anything on my Ipod. Number of times played of those nine songs range from 256-187. Thats is how good these guys are. I was so excited to hear they signed with Razor and Tie earlier this year and have been waiting for their full length, which keeps getting pushed back. Well thankfully they gave us the Future Fears EP to hold us over, and does it ever.

1. Best Intentions- Instant favorite. That is all I can say. The first listen I was in love. Everyone who has heard this song is singing it to themselves later. With the strong hooks, stomping, clapping, and group vocals, this song is immediately catchy and stands out. It is also has much more of a pop sound to it then anything they have done to this point, which works really well here.
2. Underneath- Nice intro at the front and the song holds a solid mood the whole time. Probably the most similar to the older stuff of the 3 tracks. It shows Josh, the lead vocalist, has gotten significantly better with his range.
3. King Size Bed- More of an Indie sound but still hold the Ocean Is Theory sound. My favorite of the bunch lyrically.
4. Bonus* King Size Bed (acoustic)- Nice little added bonus. Not as good as the original but still a great version. Uses group stomping and clapping really well and the bride almost gives me goose bumps.

Overall: These guys are going to get huge, I have no doubt in my mine. After hearing their new stuff and the new direction to a more accessible sound, it is going to happen. They are young and talented, and I sure hope they stay that way as long as they can. They managed to change their sound while still keeping the vibe that makes them Ocean Is Theory. Also they have MASTERED group vocals. I CAN NOT WAIT for their full length, it needs to get here now.

Rating 5/5 - "It's The Bee's Knees!"

Go buy both of these EP's, now. It will cost you less then $10 and you will get two FANTASTIC albums.

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