Fade To Black bring the Rock! (and the punk, and the ballads, and just about everything but the kitchen sink)

Fade To Black is a fairly straightforward psychedelic/punk rock band in the vein of Meat Puppets and maybe a little Butthole Surfers. That is my first impression upon listening to this cool animated video for their song “Aliens and Beer”. That is the first track off their upcoming July 2013 album, ‘G Street Panorama’. Which puts them in good and soon to be classic company (does it feel weird to call those bands classic rock? yes it does).

In a world full of tempered down indie rock on one end, and spastically complex new forms on the other, Fade To Black offer up no-nonsense chops and albeit slightly-derivative compositions. It is a fun type of music though, which makes up for any lack of originality (is anything original? not exactly). 

On “Under The Dome”, the band seems to be a little less enthusiastic, and run through their slow motion Dead Kennedys impression (at least that’s what I hear). One thing I do like about this band that sets them apart a little bit is the use of chords, which seem to be a little more complex than average for a band like this. The way they employ them offers up some extra variety.

Speaking of variety, the band changes it up on “The Note”, which is almost ballad-like rather than a rocker. One minor criticism I have of this recording is that the vocals seem pretty loud in the mix, covering up the instruments at times. This could be a lean towards pop music, or more of a mix issue, depending on their intent. Still, it is not a MAJOR problem… I’ve heard far worse mixes or more egregious vocal snafus. Putting them lower in the mix would offer up a more natural sound, as they already have that as one of their main strongpoints. 

They have this organic thing going on, a no frills approach. On “Anger Is Emotion”, the loud vocals tend to drown out the rocking guitars. One other thought I’ve had throughout is that the drums are pretty quiet, at least for rock oriented material. They get the idea across though with some tasty solos and the classic protest song.

I think with a bit of a better mix and mastering job, this album could be something that people seek after, as long as they hit their target market (Generation X!). I am honestly impressed by the variety of songs one can hear, changing up gears on nearly every song. “Witch Puzzle” doesn’t sound like anything else on the album! The mix is better on this one, and it sounds more like them being themselves. Also, there is a nice lull in the action just before 3:30 on this track, which adds dynamics and sets up for a great conclusion. It would be cool to hear this live.

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