Sunday, May 11, 2014

Band Review - Boswell

       
Boswell - Image courtesy of their Bandcamp Page
          Ahh, the late 60's and early 70's, what a time (even though I wasn't even born).  It was a time of change, socially, politically, and, of course, musically.  Some of the greatest and most creative music came out of this era including Bob Dylan, The Doors, The Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and oh so many more incredible bands.  Alas, these bands have come and gone, but their legacy and influence is still relevant, as is clear with Boswell.


          Boswell is a 5-piece classic rock band that hails from Austin, Texas and is made up of members Melanie Heide (Vocals/Percussion), Justin Vennay (Vocals/Bass), Cameron Coy (Guitar), Jeffrey Ferrer (Guitar) and Alex Wilhelm (Drums/Percussion/Keys).  They initially started as a cover band (claiming to be able to play over 4 hours worth of songs), playing music from the 50's on through to the 70's, but have since channeled their creative drive into their debut EP, Beryllium.  They certainly wear their influences on their sleeve, as is evident with their new EP, whether it be the bluesy guitar riffs of Led Zeppelin or the sunshine pop of Jefferson Airplane.  Their debut EP is incredibly strong, so let's jump right in.

          The EP's title track, Beryllium, starts off with an improvised pentatonic scale on the piano that runs through the entire song.  Several seconds in the deep vibrato of the bass comes in to further establish the mood of the song, followed, in short order, by the drums and vocals of Melanie Heide.  Her silvery voice evokes a certain feeling of sadness that disarms the listener and renders them helpless to the will of the music.  The picked guitar that shows itself, beginning in the chorus, ties up that package neatly and adds another layer to the simple sounding ballad.  The lyrics in this song seem to draw inspiration from the sometimes-turbulent 60's and 70's, in that they look at the things that 'plague' our society today.  Lyrics like "Metallic dolls...after all, that's what we try to be" and "Eyes sewn shut by the jagged thread of a glass screen..." are referencing society's growing addiction to modern technology.  According to their website, "The title "Beryllium" refers to...an alkaline earth metal that...is found in many forms of modern technology..."   The song begs the listener to realize their dependency on their gadgets and rethink the role they play in their lives.

          The second track on the EP, No, Miser!, is particularly reminiscent of California sunshine pop from the late 60's.  It reminds me of the many recent Mad Men scenes that take place in California and would fit very well on the show while Don Draper has yet another affair.  The band says the song follows the story of a loner miser who eventually gives up on materialism.  The track begins with an upbeat guitar hook, backed by matching drums.  It also utilizes the unique qualities of both vocalists. Melanie Heide's voice takes on a breathier quality, while bassist Justin Vennay takes an approach that makes him sound somewhat like Marty Balin (Jefferson Airplane).  Their harmonies seem effortless, as their voices blend together well.  Another noteworthy aspect of this track is the guitar work, ranging from relatively simple, strummed chords and picked notes to more complicated guitar solos.

          My personal favorite song of theirs is Statue of Venus.  They turn the gain up on the rhythm guitar for this one, as the track begins with powerful bluesy chords and an active drumbeat.  This hard-hitting chord progression spans the song, while the lead guitar plays sustained notes and complicated solos.  Vennay takes lead vocals on the track while Heide harmonizes in the background during the chorus.  This song is implicative of an early Led Zeppelin tune.

          Overall, Boswell is a group of extremely talented musicians who know how to rock.  Their brand of classic rock with a modern twist is exactly what the industry needs right now, and I see great potential in the band's music to fill this role.  They are the true modern embodiment of all the great classics, in my opinion.  You can check out their awesome debut EP, Beryllium, on their Bandcamp page (http://boswellatx.bandcamp.com) and you can find out more about them (and even hire them for your event) at their website (http://www.boswellatx.com).  Good luck to you guys and I look forward to your next release.  Boswell, WE SALUTE YOU!


Thank you for visiting my blog and reading this review.  Please feel free to comment on this article about whatever you feel like (suggestions, what you think of the band, etc...).  If you would like to contact me for any reason, check out the 'Contact' tab above.  Have a nice day and rock on!

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