The Indie universe allows second chances. We missed the brilliance of “Altar Ego” when it was released in 2016. The song adeptly floats through passages that vary to degrees that the assembly would sound “kludgey” if they were less expertly arranged and performed. “Alter Ego” begins with sonic harmonization, turns soothingly melodic at 0:40, becomes troubling at 3:00, and concludes orchestrally.
We missed the 2016 stop of “Altar Ego,” but yesterday Cardinal Harbor sent an invitation (via SubmitHub) to feature the song in a post. Thank you.
Cardinal Harbor is based in Chicago, Illinois. The members are Spencer McCreary (vocals, guitars, violin), Chris Hills (bass, guitars, DJ), Joel Stapleton (keys), Scott Carrick (saxophones), Mark Andersen (drums, percussion), and Taylor Dalton (guitars). Quoting their SubmitHub invitation:
"Midwest prog rock group Cardinal Harbor aims to redefine the Scene with hymnal melodies, odd meter, and complexity heard perhaps only in a symphony hall. Their album, 'Euclid,' is about a certain time and a certain place, a place gone now; it's a time capsule of sorts. In it, you'll hear green, overgrown suburban patios and wax covered antiquities." “Altar Ego” by Cardinal Harbor
No aspect of the latest release from British India is precious, other than the title. F-bombs litter the lyrics. The vocals have an attitude that doesn’t seem suitable for someone judging what is precious. The guitars are distorted and aggressive.
An appropriate term to describe “Precious” is multi-dimensional. The classically trained voice of Ali Barter provides backing vocals for frontman Declan Melia. British India added a piano during a bridge toward the end of the track. The piano is played robustly, as are the other instruments, but its presence constructs another dimension for “Precious.”
British India is based in Melbourne, Australia. The members are Declan Melia (vocals, guitar), Matt O’Gorman (drums), Will Drummond (bass), and Nic Wilson (guitar).
It’s easy to get lost in one of the elements of “The Enemy.” The vocals in the track from Mars Motel are self-assured and penetrating. The mixing often emphasizes the percussion. That’s particularly true following the 23-second intro, when the percussion and bass line are given equal rights with the vocals. Of course, there is our favorite element – the guitar. The solo that starts at 2:43 isn’t demanding, but it is impactful within the context of the song.
However, as with almost every song, the interplay of the elements determines the strength of “The Enemy.” The track evidences a band chemistry and “tightness” that are typically beyond the reach of a group yet to release its debut EP (one is slated to drop later this year).
Mars Motel selected “Retro” as one of the search terms when they uploaded “The Enemy” to Soundcloud. That’s appropriate, since the track carries a 1990s feel with it. On the other hand, the inspiration for the lyrics is modern day. The message is directed to today’s obsession with social media and the comfort that comes to a person from approval after broadcasting daily activities. While technological advances that allowed day-to-day observations of one’s life were once universally considered “the enemy,” people now freely post seemingly intrusive insights into their lives, because “The enemy will be your friend when you’re alone.”
Mars Motel is based in Brooklyn, New York. The members are Sarik Kumar (vocals, guitar), Wesley Wynne (guitar), Jordan Lipp (drums), and Justin Lieberthal (bass). They are scheduled to perform At Niagara in New York City on July 19, 2017. For ticket information, CLICK HERE.