It seems to me that bands today have a much harder time getting noticed or doing anything original, especially if they're playing some variation of alternative rock/mallcore/emo or whatever happens to be popular at the moment. Of course, writing good songs and delivering them with emotional authenticity goes a long way towards helping a band stand out.
Aphasia, a band on twentysomethings from Burlingame, California, definitely deserves attention for their major label debut for DRT, Fact & Fiction, which was produced by Chris Brown of Trapt. This CD shows the band to be very passionate about the music they are creating, and clearly demonstrates their talent for crafting raw emotions into memorable songs. Having been friends for many years they share a musical bond that transcends normal boundaries and their songwriting process benefits richly from the fact that they all play multiple instruments.
The first single, "Flatline", is a mid-tempo rocker that shifts to double time on the choruses and is filled with syncopated start-n-stop riffs. Dealing with the determination to follow your dreams, this song is very upbeat and encouraging. The single and video are getting lots of exposure right now due in part to this song being prominently featured in the Steven Spielberg movie, War Of The Worlds.
Fortunately Aphasia is no One Hit Wonder - there are many other great tracks on the CD. "Away From You" is a great radio-friendly song, with some nice layered harmonies and soaring vocals on the driving choruses. "House Of Cards" has kind of a cinematic chorus with low key verses. "Then Again" is one of my favorites here for the passionate vocals and "Release (This We End Tonight)" is a high-energy tune that will translate well live.
To be fair, there are a few down moments here too - "We All" is catchy enough but the lyrics seem somewhat clumsy and forced. "Compromise" would have made a nice ballad but the band seemed to apply the same formula they employed on many of the other tracks by building it up too much. As they get some touring under their belts and, perhaps, take more of a big picture view of writing for an album, they will get even better at bringing more variety to future songs.
I tend to be resistant to radio programming and bombardment by the video channels (I stubbornly insist on choosing what I like on my own) and the litmus test with me is often how well a band sticks with me after a single listen. I have to say, this CD definitely stuck. Go get it!
Standout tracks: Flatline, Away From You, Then Again