Friday, November 30, 2012

Shadowplay - Visions

Despite recent trends, good music never comes from TV contest winners slickly produced, packaged and marketed.  The best rock music comes from small groups of talented friends who get together, jam, bounce ideas off one another, refine their sound in local clubs and eventually unveil that unique vision they’ve created to a broader audience.  Call me an old fart, but I think that's the way it should be.

Shadowplay’s debut album – Visions – is a great example of a young band following in that grand tradition, and the result is both fresh and timeless.

The album is characterized by a dark tone, but just when it seems things are becoming bleak, an optimistic thought breaks through to provide some hope.  “There’s not enough time to save the world . . . but we had damn well better try.” vocalist Andrew Corkery sings in his powerful, raspy voice that seems to always be near the edge.

Along with Corkery’s vocals, Dan Holden’s guitar work is skilled, imaginative and powerful.  Those two elements of powerful vocals and energetic lead-guitar provide the rock & roll street cred, but this is a band that is extremely solid in all areas and John Seller’s bass and keyboards, Tim Bear’s manic drums and Ed Flynn’s rhythm-guitar all work together magnificently.

My personal favorite track is Autumn Sky which begins with a slow, ethereal intro but builds to become much more powerful and driving.  That sort of dynamic range is heard throughout, and the contrasts are what make this album truly special.  Soft, dreamy sections give way to powerful, fast-charging riffs . . . dreary fatalism gives way to optimism and hope.  There always seems to be something new around each corner and that keeps the listener engaged.  It has all the key elements of classic rock & roll but with a fresh take that makes it stand out as a unique work.

An outstanding effort from an up-and-coming band that you will be hearing more from.

If you're in the South Jersey area, you can attend the CD release party and be the first to get your hands on a copy:

It won't be available online until 10 pm Eastern time on Saturday, December 1st, but you can get it here when it's available:

And find out more about how MonkeyBars works here:

You can stream the new album free at these sites and also find out more about the band:

And link up with them on Facebook and check out videos on Youtube: