The famous saying is that with great power comes great responsibility. Well, with great talent come great expectations. When you hear a great riff, you get excited. When a songs jumps out at you with energy and ferocity, you get pumped. When talent is evident, you look forward to hearing something special.
In the case of Pirate Radio by The Electric Revival, the expectations set by the bands talent aren’t matched by their actual output. The main issue facing Pirate Radio is that it feels like a jarring mix of genres with blues-y/classic rock riffs (most of which are quite good) unevenly mixing with screaming punk rock vocals. Sonically, it does not work. The contrast is so extreme, the record becomes a chore to listen to.
This is unfortunate as, from an instrumental standpoint, The Electric Revival have a lot going for them. For proof of that, one needs to only listen to “Change of Season”, the album’s lone purely instrumental track. Take away the screaming and noise of the vocal mix and you have three sure-handed musicians making music that you could enjoy listening to.
“Change of Season” stands out as one of the highlights of Pirate Radio along with “Hell Hath No Fury” (which works very well as a straight forward punk song) and “The Hero” (which has an Ozzy vibe to it and overcomes occasionally muddled vocals). Not coincidentally, those are the three songs that are distinct when listening through the album, unlike the rest which blend into one another.
Pirate Radio is not a bad album but one that feels like it could be a spark for something better, except the spark just isn’t lighting. Maybe it never will light and those great expectations may never be met. Or maybe one day it will and The Electric Revival will deliver an album that is reflective of the great talent they posses.
Either way, the seed is there, our only job is to see if it grows into something more.
The Electric Revival are playing at the Avant Garde Bar in Ottawa on March 6, 2014.
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