Nothing More — Dirt Fest 2014 Artist Spotlight
I’ve been raving about the band Nothing More ever since their abbreviated set at Rock on the Range and after hearing their album, it’s the band I’m looking forward to the most at Dirt Fest 2014.
Nothing More is a progressive, yet still hard-rock quartet from San Antonio Texas. They initially formed the band in their middle school days, which definitely shows in their musical chemistry. Everything sounds and effect feels very well-thought out on their recently released self-titled album. Their guitar riffs often bring to mind factory machinery firing and pounding in a very organized, chaotic and mechanically harmonic way. This is complimented by the band’s dynamic lead vocalist, Johnny Hawkins and a well-balanced counter-attack from the rhythm section.
The band’s strengths don’t just lie in the sum of their parts, many of the songs on the self-titled effort display an incredible amount of uniqueness and song writing ability. The album is largely devoid of the typical rock radio swill that so many bands churn out every two years to keep feeding the machine, but I’m not saying that songs on that record won’t hit the radio. I believe many of them will, but it’s because they do not sound like everyone else… a trait that’s in alarmingly short supply these days.
Everyone probably knows how great their track ‘This is the Time (Ballast)’ is from hearing it on the Banana, so I won’t waste your time posting it here. I will jump to the fourth track on the record (and the one that really won me over live), ‘Mr. MTV.’ Although this song feels a just slightly over-produced after hearing the intense live version, it carries a great message about the current generation that are addicted to technology and the corporate culture that rotting away the core of what made this country great and speaks volumes of the band’s intelligence and character.
Really, this album delivers from first note through the final echo. ‘First Punch’ follows the fourth track and is the closest you’ll find to an up-the-middle radio track, but manages to really gather steam in the second verse thanks to the beat and choppy guitar… even their stuff that is comparable to today’s rock radio scene stands head and shoulders above most.
The instrumental track ‘Gyre’ breaks up the album nicely, and is followed by the hard-hitting assault on the over-privileged, unappreciative youth with ‘The Matthew Effect.’ It was hard not to include that one here, but the next two tracks are my favorites from the disc. The first of which being the slow-burning ballad ‘I’ll Be OK.’ At some points in the self-produced record there are elements of programming that probably could’ve been scaled back for greater effect, but they find the perfect balance for them on this track. ‘I’ll Be OK’ burns, builds and crashes in all the right ways.
‘Here’s to the Heartache’ is a track where the vocals are a tad reminiscent of Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge, Slash) during the hook, but the songwriting and arrangement on this one are so powerful, you’ll soon be saying that Myles Kennedy sounds like him as oppose to the former.
I could keep going and post the whole album, but I’d rather leave some gems for you to discover. Another thing I should mention is that they are great performers. A lot of bands struggle to give you something comparable to their studio sound. This is not one of those bands. Not only do they entertain, in many cases the exceed the energy and intensity of the recorded version without losing anything.
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