Saturday, November 3, 2007

Envy On The Coast - Lucy Gray

Band: Envy On The Coast
Album: Lucy Gray
Release Date: August 7, 2007
Label: Photo Finish Records

Three Word Review: Earnest, Fragmented, Promising

Favorite Track: “Vultures”
Why? There is a lot to like about this track. The opening bass line (which, thankfully, recurs), the varied vocal styles, duo vocals which showcase Sal’s vocals, and the song’s air of urgency. The opening track “Sugar Skulls” is up there on this list as well.

Least Favorite Track: “If God Smokes Cheap Cigars”
Why? The song just drops off. With about a minute and a half left the intensity of the song disappears. This actually mirrors the album. This track marks the beginning of the end, after this all the intensity is gone, the remaining songs are all slow and soft. There’s nothing wrong with slow, but they kill the album’s flow in its end. “Lapse” is also fairly bad, it feels incomplete and very rough near its extremely drawn-out end.

My Thoughts:
I like it, I don’t love it. I’m happy to say that I’ve seen Envy On The Coast springboard into [semi-]popularity. They first appeared on my radar when they were the opening act for an acoustic Anthony Green set at the North Star Bar in Philadelphia. They only had their Self-Titled EP then, and it was just on a CD-R, but they were good. I bought it that night, and still love it.

However, there have been some changes made along the way from now until then. “Lucy Gray” is a lot harder during the bulk of the album. It would be a misrepresentation to say that it is hard rock, but the ebb and flow of the EPs intensity is all shoved in the end of this release. However, the musicianship is here. Envy On The Coast has what it takes, and I don’t doubt for one second that they’re going to blowup sometime soon.

“Lucy Gray” is a solid album, but it doesn’t exactly bleed originality, nor does it boast many genre-defining qualities. However, it is very listen-able. Also, what it may lack in originality the band makes up in live performance. They’re full of energy and very genuine.

Why You May or May Not Like It:
One thing to make or break Envy On The Coast for many people is Ryan’s vocal style. It’s not particularly abrasive, but it can be a tipping point. Also, for fans of the EP, some of that sound is lost hear. Some of my favorites by the group are on that album. The likes of “Green Eyes Don’t Lie” and “You Won’t Hear This” are sadly lacking this time through. What is most interesting about “You Won’t Hear This” is that Sal takes over lead vocals. He’s got an excellent voice and it is mostly missing on “Lucy Gray.” I’m not sure why they made the decision to tack all the slow songs on the end of the album, but I think it was a poor choice. If you were looking for more tracks in the same vein of “Suckerpunch” this is a very strong showing in the first half.

Final Say:
As I’ve said, a very solid release. The talent is here, and so is the energy. This young band has lots of potential and it is not lost on this album. They’re touring extensively, as they have been for a while. If they play by you I suggest you make it a point to see them! They’re coming to my college in a week and I’m sure excited to see them. Definitely give this album a listen and lend them some support!

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