Right Equation

Contrast have had a good start to their musical career, appearing on the ‘Mod Aid’ album alongside the likes of Ronnie Wood and Steve Craddock. They’ve also been offered a record contract and have been chosen to represent Kent at a French music festival.

The briefest of spins will introduce you to the warm and crunchy indie rock sounds that are prevalent on this record. The bass plonks along with a retro tone that can only be achieved by keeping old string going as long as possible and the occasional appearance of a Hammond backs up the influences the vocal alludes to throughout.

The songs themselves don’t really make it past the average mark, with a fair amount of the effort going into each chorus but with some frail verses and tired chord progressions filling the time in-between and failing to impress. Contrast are lucky to have a quality vocal in their arsenal, as it saves the songs from completely melting together with a series of decent melodies.

The solo’s are excellent at times, such as the choky runs of ‘You’re Trying to Take my Girlfriend’ or in the flowing lead guitar contained in ‘Red Light’. However, the guitar work in ‘Time Machine’ and in the intro to ‘Shout it Out’ is distractingly poor in comparison. A bit more consistency in this department would make a big difference.

The intro’s also require more variety. Eight songs start with a guitar riff, leaving only a single bass intro and a single drum intro to provide that little change.

If all this sounds a bit harsh, then let me counter that with this note. This band clearly have a lot of potential. They have some nice ideas and there is certainly plenty of talent available with tight drum fills, creative bass lines, and fantastic vocals all over the place. The only problem is that the songs sound like they’re still at the ‘ideas’ stage, where there is a good chorus and some rough sketch outlines for the rest – but no real thought behind the structure and no work being done to shore up the verses.

A brief skim through the works of Paul Weller will help these chaps to see the difference between alright and brilliant, he’s done both in his day, and a little extra-curricular out-of-genre research will give them a few new ideas.

Written by Smith on

Stuart 'Saur' Smith was a prolific writer for The Mag throughout the magazine's lifetime. He combined a day job of temporary office jobs in London with a nightlife of trawling the capital's music venues looking for talent. As well as writing about music, he was a session musician who featured on a number of singles in the 90s. Today, Stuart is a Chief Writer for Phonotonal.
Stuart Smith

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