Sunday, May 8, 2016

Against the Current - Gravity EP (2014) + Wasteland (2016)

Martin Männik

One may think that the age of garage bands are over and the only way to get recognition is to audition for Xfactor or American Idol, but hold on! There’s also Youtube, that’s perfect for unknown bands to get the recognition they deserve. All you need is a camera, a microphone, a laptop and a good song and you’re good to go. That’s exactly how New York’s trio Against the Current did it. In 2014, they uploaded their first EP “Gravity” to Youtube. EP features six songs, that try to bring the borders of rock and pop closer together and is filled with strong emotions. Against the Current is one of these bands that you don’t quite get at first. When listening the EP for the first time, one may not think much of it, but something brings you back to it again and again. All songs on the “Gravity” EP have a weakness – somewhat dull verses, but that’s not bothersome, since they have extremely catchy and powerful choruses.

The EP begins with the track “Gravity”. That is the song that got the band a wider recognition and allowed the band to quit their jobs to pursue the music career. Soon after the release of the song, the band was touring all over the US and Europe. The song starts out with a grungy guitar riff and drum beat that are backing the vocals. Listening to the verse brings “High School Musical” to mind with its simplicity and cliché lyrics about teenage love. However, when the chorus hits, it hits like a hammer and it’s a completely different story. One has to double-check, that it’s Chrissy Costanza, and not Hayley Williams of Paramore, that’s singing. The timbre and the power of the singer’s voice on the higher notes may confuse any listener, that isn’t a fan of the either band.

Rest of the tracks on the EP are standing in the shadow of “Gravity”, since that is the song everybody wants to hear on their live performances.

However, more recent news about Against the Current is that they will be releasing their first full-length album on 20th of May 2016. The album will be called “In Our Bones” and they have already released three of the songs as teasers of what is yet to come. Here’s one of the songs – “Wasteland”:

When artists stop experimenting with different genres and styles and find something that suits them - that’s when the good stuff is created. That is exactly what Against the Current has done. After almost two years since the release of their “Gravity” EP, the band has stayed true to their pop/rock combo and the result is “Wasteland”.

“Wasteland” has shifted the band’s genre focus slightly towards pop, but rock elements are still clearly present. The verse and pre-chorus are made much more interesting and unpredictable with vocal dynamics. They have also used the old trick of build-up after the first chorus that gives you the concept of “here it comes”, but instead, a regular verse goes on. Furthermore, the chorus doesn’t hit like hammer this time. However, the instrumental part after the second chorus drops a very powerful mix of different effects and sounds, and the outcome is awesome if you have a sub-woofer or good headphones at home.

The outro features the same instrumental part and adds this to the chorus. The outcome is a bit too much of everything in one part of the song, however a good song should have some kind of culmination.

In conclusion, it is good to see that the band has matured a bit in these two years since the release of “Gravity” and has collected a lot of experience on and off stage. A lead singer with a powerful voice and a good songwriter make this band one to watch. If they can keep this up and don’t stray from their path, the trio will go far. Their upcoming debut album will show, if the rest of the album keeps up with their pre-released sneakpeek.

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