Saturday, November 28, 2009

I Don't Get Much Sleep with Alexis Blue

I started today really late, being that I was up really late last night. That being the case, I didn't think I'd have the time to find someone I really liked, because there are only so many hours in the day. I shouldn't have worried though, because as soon as I came across these guys, everything was great, and it's probably due to their upbeat, pop melodies. Usually I'm very critical of such sound in the rock genre because people tend to overdo it, and then we're stuck with something like 'N Synch. But these guys provide just the right about of pop to their songs, and everything works perfectly.
Out of Liverpool, England, they are Alexis Blue, an indie-rock quartet that exudes catchy tunes and soulful lyrics. Composed of Andeh Stewart (lead vocals, guitar, and keyboards), Paul Easton (lead guitar and vocals), Tom McCarron (bass and vocals), and Mark Easton (drums, cowbell, and vocals), Alexis Blue certainly have what it takes to be the next Smiths, or perhaps even Oasis, depending on their musical direction.
Though, I listen to a number of singles and EP tracks, they all tell me that Alexis Blue is one of Liverpool's best kept secrets. The first I listen to is "Your Easy Life," an indie-inspired track from the Your Easy Life/Swings & Roundabouts Single. The track begins with a great garage-style guitar riff from Paul Easton, and as Mark Easton works his way in on the drums, McCarron's bass lines are simple but powerful, and Stewart's vocals and rhythm accompaniment are perfect for this track. It's got a bouncy beat, and soon we work our way to a fantastic bridge laid down by Paul as Stewart lightly sings over it, and Mark then moves from the snare to the high-hats quickly, sharing a great rhythm section with McCarron. Everything about this song is right, and the simple but catchy chorus puts it over the top, and already this group are at 110%.
Track two is the second half of the single with "Swings & Roundabouts." Here, much like the previous track, Alexis Blue starts with an indie riff by Paul Easton as Mark's drumming style makes me think of The White Stripes and The Strokes. Though some would point at this minimalist drumming as taking away from the song, I love it, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Among Paul's catchy guitar notes are McCarron's bass chords, which, when listened to carefully, can be heard keeping the time with Mark Easton's snare, and providing a great rhythm for Stewart's pop-style vocals and indie choruses.
Tracks three and four come from the What You Don't Know Can't Hurt You and Dyslexics EP's (respectively). First on "You Wont Get Much Sleep," we started off with a fantastically ominous guitar riff from Paul Easton. But Paul's guitar notes aren't the only brilliant aspects of this song. Mark Easton's drumming has picked up, and coupled with McCarron's bass lines which are now out in the open, send "shivers down my spine," to use an appropriate line from the song. Stewart's vocals fit the melody perfectly, and his rhythm guitar parts are right where they should be. If all that doesn't impress you though, Paul Easton's sick indie guitar solo will definitely push you over the edge for sure. And if "You Won't Get Much Sleep" isn't enough for you, try on "Dyslexics of the World" for size. It's a fantastically snare-driven song, and hear Mark Easton's and McCarron's tightly synched rhythm section shines. Starting on a brilliant drum roll, we're soon launched into a melodious track, and Paul Easton's riffs take us away as Stewart's vocals and lyrics serenade us into oblivion. If any track should wrap up a demo EP, this is it.
Normally I finish the review with four songs, but today I'm going to expand it one song more, simply because this one is newer, and just so different from their previous songs. The last track I listen to is "Passive Agressive" from the single version of the song. Among the more pop-inspired guitar notes here, we are thrust into a new sound, one that introduces Stewart's keyboards as a prominant sound in the song. Mark Easton's drumming is tight and easy, and McCarron's bass is ever-pumping. Paul Easton's guitar has gone from Pixies to Pulp, and Stewart's vocals exude so much melody that they blend with his keys to provide a brilliant sound. It is beyond clear that this review would not have been complete without this song, and if you need any convincing of this group, here's the first track to start with. A fantastic job. Alternative meets pop and gives birth to indie. Two thumbs up.

Sounds Like: Oasis, The Strokes, The Smiths, The Vines, Pixies, Pulp, The Cure

Key Tracks from Your Easy Life/Swings & Roundabouts Single, What You Don't Know Can't Hurt You EP, Dyslexics EP, Passive Aggressive Single (respectively): "Your Easy Life," "Swings & Roundabouts," "You Won't Get Much Sleep," "Dyslexics of the World," "Passive Aggressive"

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