• September 17th, 2020
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Rock is a genre that is well recognized and well studied, a genre that has roots in guitars, drums and bass but is ever evolving and ever expanding with bands like The Beatles and The White Stripes being both past and present examples of study material. Distant Neighbor may be a newcomer to the rock scene but has aspirations of mixing pop with alternative, punk and grunge to create a sound that the world has never heard before with it’s dense wall of sound layers and abstract effects. Sometimes, unique sounds aren’t enough as evident by “WASTELANDIA”, Distant Neighbor’s debut effort.

The production here is unique and distinctive with guitars of the smooth and distorted type of nature, reverberation that gives the music a unique trippy feeling and lyrics that are so far out there that you’d believe that they came from outer space. There are literally multiple layers of guitars, lots of overdubs and lots of effects that come together to form this and it’s amazing how much effort they put into making the production as unique (yet professional) as possible, it really feels like you’re in the 70s putting on a rock record that would take you to another dimension; something your parents would disapprove of but you’d see no problem with.

The lyrics which accompany the production I admit, it’s a nice homage to the past and present with it’s smooth and gritty lyrics about revolution, peace and good vibes. The voices that provide the lyrics have good ranges and never seem out of place with the music itself, providing such a marriage that seems so perfect that it’s destined to last forever. These are the type of lyrics that speak to you, that makes most rock records what they are and ultimately, the type of lyrics that this band is well suited to sing about.

It’s evident by it’s well-mannered nature that they were trying to live up to the legends like The Beatles for example because they really did a lot of research, put in a lot of effort and did everything correct just to make this record happen. From the cover and the graphics design to even the bandcamp artist page, it seems like they really, really, really wanted to stand out as much as possible. However, doing everything you can to stand out can be a bad thing as the band loses focus of what their debut project wants to be.

For one, the sound doesn’t change or adapt as it plays, remaining mostly the same with rare variations throughout the tracks. This is alright in the beginning but becomes monotonous and pretentious as the album goes through the motions. The Beatles may be one of their inspirations in the formation of the band and making this album but their White Album has variations by involving different types of instruments and tempos (such as pianos and mixing in R&B with the rock/pop). This makes them artists who are making music to impress other musicians rather than artists who make music for the love of it.

In addition, the track lengths are similar in length and push it when it comes to your attention span. If they wanted to gain a fanbase, they could of used tracks with less than 4 minutes to push away the monotony that comes with having long tracks. In addition, the subject matter tends to blend in with each of the other tracks, a consequence of having songs that sound similar to each other. All of those things make listening to the album a chore rather than a listening experience where you gain something new every time and nobody wants to do a chore unless they absolutely have to do it.

Still, it’s admirable the band created a sound that’s distinctive and unique in addition to daring to release an album that’s what they wanted it to be. If you wanted your band to be something it would be this band since bands like these are far and few inbetween. The bands that dare to break the norm and push sounds are far more respected than bands that stay on the familiar trail. Ultimately, “WASTELANDIA” is an album that’s too long with tracks that sound too similar to each other despite a distinct and unique sound. It’s got effort and spunk, I give it that but in a world where everybody’s trying to gain your attention in someway, I just wish they’d focused more on making an enjoyable project rather than a project that they can show off to their musician friends.

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T. Karras

Musician/Hip-Hop fanatic/writer for nodball and half geek, half street.

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