The Fulcrum evaluates interesting music releases from the past week
Content warning: our first pick touches on graphic content.
Single of the week: “Miracle of Life” by Bright Eyes and Phoebe Bridgers 5/5
A song of the times, as they say, Bright Eyes and Phoebe Bridgers put themselves in the shoes of a couple who need to leave their deep-red state to get an abortion but can’t make it to their destination due to their car breaking down. The abortion is performed by a non-specialized local doctor and turns for the worst as we learn at the end that the woman has “expired on a Sunday” and “went right up to heaven” in a tongue-in-cheek reference to the religious belief that having an abortion will send you straight to hell.
This song comes out just at the right time, as a couple of weeks ago, U.S. President Donald Trump appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. She is a self-promoted staunch Catholic who solidifies the court’s conservative majority, placing the historic Roe v. Wade ruling (which protects a woman’s right to a legal abortion in the United States) in existential danger.
The indie midnight feel of this song really completes it, as the keyboards and drums give it a dark and somber feel.
Highlighted Album: Andrew Hyatt: Neverland 2.3/5
A new EP from Sudbury native Andrew Hyatt, Neverland is a standard country album built on love songs with a mix of guitars and drums. There are a couple of songs off the EP that can be played over and over on country stations around the country for the next few weeks.
The first and third tracks, “Hang Around Kind” and “I Needed That,” directly fit that “country standard” mold. They both are about how thankful the narrator is for his significant other, which is nice, but a number of thrown-in comparisons and country lingo (trucks, church, and drinks) hamper the songs. Both, however, have a strong chorus which will make them solid country radio singles.
“Stuck” is an interesting track as it deviates from the established instrumental mold – it’s more acoustic – but it seems to miss the mark.
Finally, the strongest song on the EP is “Get Away with Anything,” where Hyatt is able to convey some emotions through his singing and songwriting, but there are still some annoying similes, metaphors and country references of which might not be so popular to all.
Discovery of the Week: The Dose
Based in California, the Dose is formed by lead vocalist and guitarist Indio Downey (Robert Downey Jr’s son) and drummer Ralph Alexander. This band mixes modern day recordings with alternative sounds and heavy grunge influences. This is heard on their most popular song, “Cold Hands,” which adds a modern pop twist to the Pixies’ classic soft/loud way of building a song; the verses are sung in a modern pop way. The chorus sounds similar to a chorus that could have been found on the Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness.
There are definitely strong early 90s influences in their sound from bands like the Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana, especially in Downey’s signing and guitar stylings, but they stay away from that lousy post-grunge sound found in bands like Nickleback and Creed. Instead, they really concentrate on the alternative origins of the genre and the distorted guitar effects.
What sets them apart from other similar bands is that they don’t seem to concentrate on developing radio-friendly choruses, instead offering heavier songs with unique dark guitar tones and pace changes in songs such as “Vervain” and “Out Driving (Fear and Loathing),” two prime examples from their latest album Saline (2019).