Serious Matters, an alt-rock band from Union Beach, New Jersey, released their debut EP, Can You See The Sky From Here, on December 18th of 2016. The artwork seems to portray an attractive and colorful impressionistic skyscape featuring the album title in an easy-to-read cursive followed by the band logo.
I like it.
Check out the tracklist below to follow along with our review of Can You See The Sky From Here.
Can You See The Sky From Here Tracklist:
2. Nature Holds The Crown
3. Eyes Wide Shut
4. Summer Tides
Track one, "Weary," is introduced by a heavy solo guitar that is joined by the rest of the band, led in by a tasty rolling drum fill. Immediately I notice two things: first, the dry drum and guitar recordings reveal that this is not going to be a heavily produced album. No lush reverbs and delays, just pure raw rock tones and clean drums. Second, the tightness of this band is incredibly apparent. As a producer myself, I know how hard it can be to hide excessively tuned vocals and time edited drums without the help of reverbs and delays and other production tools. This, in addition to the incredibly natural feel of the entire record, leads me to believe that these gentlemen are as good of musicians as the record portrays (excellent).
The recording quality is crisp and clean. The guitar tones are just over-driven enough to be considered heavy, but still clean enough not to muddy up the mix or produce unwanted brown notes. The vocals are some of the most legible and powerful that I have heard in this genre. They feature the strength of early 2000’s pop-punk/emo with the pinpoint accuracy of modern pop vocal recordings.
Tracks two and three follow much in the vein of track one and are more or less what you would expect as follow up tracks (I mean that in a positive way). The songs are catchy, the riffs are strong and the lyrics feel incredibly meaningful. However, track four caught me off guard right from the get go. It begins with a guitar, featuring a pinging dotted-eighth delay (as made famous by U2) and an upbeat-ish chord progression that delightfully surprised me with the contrast that it created to the more angsty trio of songs that came before it.
Track five, "Apparition," once again came as a surprise in how vastly it contrasted its predecessors on the album. It features slow-heavy riff-age (which I love), an almost bluesy guitar solo and screamed vocals at the very end. The closing track, "Vacant," is certainly the heaviest track on the EP, as well the most dynamic. It swells in and out of soft, whisper-like vocals with palm muted guitars to fully engaged over-driven chords and crash cymbals. Can You See The Sky From Here is a clear indication that Serious Matters can not be pigeon-holed into any niche in the music scene. I would love to have a discussion with these guys about their influences because there is a ton of diversity in their styles of riffing and chord vocals.
Overall, I loved the album. The writing is great, the fidelity of the recordings is high, yet raw. The vocal and guitar doubles are tasteful and the riffs are the memorable type that make you want to bob your head up and down. The lyrical content is a pleasing balance between poetic and conversational.
They said of their own lyrics: “Can You See The Sky From Here is a collection of songs revolving around sleep paralysis, the comfort of sleep, lucid dreaming, the unknown and acceptance. Many of the lyrics in each song have a duality in meaning. They can be taken literally, but also as a metaphor for bigger things like the anxiety of not know what comes after this life and the social ideals that put physical weight on your chest making it hard to breathe. These aren’t just stories, but come from real life experiences that everyone goes through on a daily basis. “
The messages are as clear and understandable in the record as in their recollection of the lyrics, which takes a good amount of skill as a writer to accomplish! I highly recommend giving this EP a listen.
Check out Serious Matters on social media down below for more!
Serious Matters: Facebook // Soundcloud