A Road To Damascus

So Damn Close EP

Written by: TL on 02/03/2010 00:05:14

A few weeks ago, I made acquaintance with a band called A Road To Damascus, as they exploded overnight, from being basically non-existant in the public eye, to being right in every scenesters little face with a shiny myspace page, an EP release, a promising conquest of the Emergenza Festival underway and a support slot for Yashin at The Rock. As the genre labels immediately attributable to their sound were emo and pop-punk, I was of course intrigued and hastily secured the mentioned three track EP, called "So Damn Close", for review.

To begin with, I try to figure out just where on my mental band map to locate ARTD, which starts out hard, as I recognize many elements in the music, yet have trouble finding good comparisons for the combined product. There's enough pop-punk nostalgia in the riffs, and nasal sounding clean vocals - courtesy of sixteen year young frontman Matthias by the way, who exhibits impressive control and attitude despite the sharpness of his voice, kudos - to make you think of New Found Glory and their various copyists (Why hello there, You Me At Six?). However, there are also screams and a somewhat more anthemic pace and quiet/loud dynamic, which would tilt the band towards a slightly heavier emo rock category.

All in all, this mixture is sweet, because it brings you back to a period of scene music that seems long lost these days, and my immediate comparisons, to Sound The Alarm('s first EP) and Just Surrender (whom the band has professed to not know, so since I know they'll be reading, check out "Our Work Of Art", or anything from that entirely brilliant album) - are soon joined by others, such as Matchbook Romance, Halifax and Behind Crimson Eyes.

Anyway, about those three songs, I already revealed their style, but I haven't yet spoken of how positively surprised I am with the impact this young band has managed to imbue into every single one of them. Vocals, melodies and compositions all strut with confidence beyond the band's years (as does the live show by the way) and with both effective dynamics and catchy hooks, your mind will cling to all three with ease. So far, especially the high reaching bridge of "Sweetheart", and both intro and chorus of "She Walks Alone", stand out as things to come back for. "So Damn Close" is just as memorable, but does stand as the weaker of the three tracks, as some might find the sugary melody and vocals of that one to be just a bit too poppy.

Now all in all, I have two complaints about "So Damn Close EP". 1) Why isn't there any more of it? Three tracks? Dammit, give me more! 2) Yeah you guessed it, vocals. Matthias sings, like I've said, with great confidence and proficiency, but his age betrays his voice with a sound that's still a bit sharp on the ears, something I'm sure however, is just matter of time it before gets better. Other than that, there's only one thing left to point out: Notice all those bands I compared ARTD to? Note that all comparisons are made to those bands' debut material, because coincidentally, every single one of those bands (save for YMAS and NFG) have sucked major fuckin' balls on all releases beyond the first one. This scares the shit out of me, because I can't help but to think paranoidly, that a start this promising can only mean a huge bowl of disappointment later on. Please 'Damascus, prove me wrong!

7

Download: She Walks Alone, Sweetheart
For The Fans Of: Just Surrender, You Me At Six, Halifax, Matchbook Romance, Behind Crimson Eyes (@ "Scream Out Your Name To The Night")
Listen: myspace.com/aroadtodamascus

Release Date 10.02.2010
*UNSIGNED BAND*

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