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Blue Epic
by antiGUY

For this go around of “First Look” we journey to Birmingham, Alabama, to meet Blue Epic; a modern rock powerhouse that just made their debut in record stores via a EP released by Empathic Recordings/TVT Records.  

Musically the band lands somewhere between “Sugar” era Tonic and PrimeSTH, not a bad place to be at all. For the most part, Blue Epic weaves intriguing “bright” sounding guitar leads with moving rhythms and extremely melodic vocals. While all four members work together the secret to Blue Epic is the interplay between lead vocalist Phillip Roberson and lead guitarist Hadwin Brown. It’s not Page/Plant but the two complement each other beautifully giving the band a very strong frontline. 

Some will throw this band into the “modern rock” field and others will place them in the “indie rock” category. It’s true that both genres have a lot in common but there are some distinctions. Blue Epic really straddles the line between the two. Not slick enough to earn the modern rock distinction and they don’t pack enough angst to land the “indie rock” label. However, the music is slick enough to be viable commercially, while at the same time retaining indie rock credibility due to the vocals and arrangements.  

Roberson vocals lead the way with a voice that bridges the gap between Tonic’s Emerson Hart and Blind Mellon’s Shannon Hoon. Roberson’s vocals have a plaintive quality to them that makes the listener empathetic to the emotions he is trying to capture in the songs.  Producer Chad Blinman (Get Up Kids, Face to Face) does a masterful job of bringing the songs together with a multi-layered feel that give the band a “big” sound but not going too far and making the music sound over-produced. 

On the negative side is the fact that is only an EP. I for one was disappointed when it came to an abrupt end after five tracks. The EP contains four original songs and a cover of Neil Young’s “A Man Needs A Maid”. On that cover Roberson captures a bit of Young’s feel but then as the song progresses he makes it all his own. But it’s the original tracks that win the day. Especially “Time To Borrow” and “Underwater,” two songs that do the best of showing us all sides of Blue Epic.  

“Love & Hate EP” is a strong introduction for Blue Epic, now we have to see if their full-length debut can generate the same excitement. If it does then we have a definite winner. 

Want More

Official Website - learn more about the band and preview songs from their EP


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