Hey everyone. I know it's been almost a couple of weeks since I posted about a new artist, but with college applications due so soon, and the holidays, plus getting sick for a few days, I was just swamped with stuff. Luckily though, I found a group last night to help sooth my over-worked mind, and I've been listening to them all day. So, without any furthers digressions, I present to you Road to Bremen.
An alternative-rock/pop-punk band out of Los Angeles, California, Road to Bremen combine sharp-edged alternative-rock rhythms with pop-punk-inspired vocals and melodies. Composed of members Darren Massey (lead vocals), Nick Alley (lead guitar, piano, and vocals), Danny Bell (bass), and Johnny Ashkar (drums and percussion), Road to Bremen's sound showers listeners with a rainbow of influences, from AC/DC and My Chemical Romance to The Strokes and The White Stripes (at least by my opinion).
I was so floored by this group's debut EP, I couldn't think of any reason in the world why these guys aren't playing shows on Warped Tour, or headlining the pop-punk or alternative circuits with Sum 41 and MCR. Though RTB's EP Foreword starts off with "Oxygen," however, which is in itself a kick-ass track, I'm pushed over the limit with their next song, "Hands Down," the first track that begs to be described here, in luscious detail. Biting the pop-punk heels of "Oxygen," "Hands Down" begins on a slick guitar riff laid down by Alley, and as Ashkar counts in on the drums and Bell pumps us full of anticipation with a building tempo, Massey's Queen-style vocals bring the house down and burn the dance floor up, and this song is already my new favorite song of the week. A song that would be at home on both a rockin' car stereo or a DJ's jam amp, "Hands Down" delivers a punch of raw-edged rock with a nice lace of pop-punk vocals and melody rounding it off. As all four members build towards the conclusion, the floor suddenly drops out, and this song is fucking incredible.
Track three is "Paper Walls," another MCR-esque song that makes phenomenal use of Alley's key prowess, as Ashkar descends into a jazzy drumbeat, but picks up the pace as Bell chimes in with a John Entwhistle-like bass line. Meanwhile, Massey busies himself with combining the vocal styles of Ryan Key with the musical ferocity of My Chemical Romance, and this track is versatile enough to play well next to Kill Hannah, or sit anywhere on The Black Parade. With a bursting chorus that makes use of Bell's blasting bass notes and Ashkar's drumbeats, situated next to Alley's quirky keys and powerful guitar riffs, and Massey's smooth-as-steel vocals, "Paper Walls" is definitely one of the must-hear tracks on the EP.
Though the track "Bitch," is also a fun song, the last song that really sends shivers up my spine is "The Vagrant," a piano-guitar riff-driven song which again melds Queen-style harmonies with MCR theatricality and AC/DC guitars in an unusual, but flattering and interesting fashion. The lyrics are clever as hell, and the melody is catchy to the point that I'll be humming it all night through dinner and as I go to sleep tonight. I know it's been a couple of weeks since I had a group for you guys, but I'm telling you, these guys are well worth the wait. Catchy, clever, and with a sick sense of style that throws back to MCR's theatricality, Road to Bremen is sure to take the alternative/pop-punk circuit by storm. But just because these guys share a few characteristics with some other bands, don't even think of pigeon-holing them in any category. If RTB have proven anything, it's that they're versatile enough to go in any direction they want, and rock at it. I'm already getting money to reserve for Warped Tour next year, because with a sick EP like this, there's no way anyone in their right mind would pass these guys up.
Sounds Like: Queen, My Chemical Romance, The White Stripes, AC/DC, The Beach Boys
Key Tracks from Foreword: "Hands Down," "Paper Walls," "The Vagrant," "Oxygen"