I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. To impress me and of course to make a lasting name for yourself in the music industry, or even just the heart of the listener, you need to really stand out as a band/artist. Something about you (other than your silly outfits or make up) needs to capture people’s attention and make them think “this is truly quality”. No longer is it enough to just hide behind production and make something that sounds good, but is a carbon copy of those who came before.
So following this thought process, today’s review details the recently released Obscure EP by the Michigan based sextet, SycAmour. Of course that brings us to the question, does this record stand out, or is it fated to be lost in oblivion with the countless other bands attempting to reach fame?
The first step taken in this EP, the listener hears a grandfather clock ticking away in the track Rose Tinted (Blood Shot), perhaps foreshadowing what’s to come in the rest of the record. Luckily it’s not something drawn out too long, it takes just a few seconds to delve right into the music. Immediately you’re greeted with a tremolo sounding guitar and their clean vocalist Jeremy Gilmore. Right away you’re greeted by one of the first things that makes SycAmour shine out among other bands that may seem similar. Jeremy has a wonderfully unique voice, something I like to describe as soulful yet haunting. Luckily that is no lack of his voice on this record. But my description makes SycAmour sound as if they are a soul band which they are far from. After the you’re met with an explosive guitar riff and their screamer Tony Sugent. The band has also seemed to acquire themselves a very good screamer, one who is able to do fry vocals/highs and lows very well, and the two vocalists regularly trade off vocal sections, other times overlapping each other and creating a complimenting contrast of screams and cleans.
The band has done a wonderful job of taking six songs that while sounding similarly, they each offer somewhat different experiences while maintaining that post-hardcore sound the band has. An example found in the track Nooses (On The Looses). A well done Rap section can be found in the middle of the song (Issues take notice) that is transitioned in and out well and doesn’t serve to remove the listener from their experience or create an awkward atmosphere from the song.
Another track that stands out to me is the one titled Rain. Fusin a subtle orchestral melody in the background of the song with guitars and vocals. But I must not forget to mention the lead guitar in the song, and the solo at the end makes you think to yourself “this is a modern rock song” of course with screaming attached. But speaking of lead guitar, I’m happy to say that the band makes good use of two guitars. Instead of having two rhythms similar to other bands I’ve notice doing, the lead guitar is pronounced and adds a significant sound to their songs. It does an excellent job of standing out, but complimenting the song, normally corrolating with some of the produced effects used such as piano, or violins. That doesn’t mean that one guitarist is slacking while the other is doing all the work, both contribute equally as can be seen in songs such as Get With The Times, New Roman! or the song Crassinova.
I must also point out that I greatly enjoyed how the produced effects were handled on this record. I’ve noticed many other bands would use synths, pianos, violins, orchestral pieces and other instruments to replace the lead guitar. While sounding good, if removed the songs would effectively become a lot more dull and the apparent lack of musicianship would be seen. Instead of abusing that, this record makes it work alongside the lead guitar most of the time. It’s something that when done correctly adds another layer onto music that increases the musical quality and SycAmour have done an excellent job with this. Never once does it replace any main instrument in their recordings.
Bass guitar and drums aren’t neglected either. I can actually hear the bass in this EP (something that cannot be said for many other records) and although it doesn’t do anything incredibly technical, it does contribute by filling out the “empty” parts in their songs that only a bass can. And their drummer has also done a good job. His drumming doesn’t rely on the same patterns throughout, managing to change up his fills and symbol work a lot, keeping it fresh and not constantly relying on simple Crash and double bass work. Though there are still instances where you’ll find that sound during some of the breakdowns, an example being near the end of the song Get With The Times, New Roman! It’s something that doesn’t last long and doesn’t detract from the listening experience.
Negatives are far and few in between in this EP. One of the only ones I can distinctly pick up lies at the beginning of Nooses (On The Looses) with the lead guitar, sounding as if it was just thrown on last second. It doesn’t match the flow of the song, or compliment anything, sounding completely out of place. It fixes itself rather quickly, so I find myself questioning what happened there. Other than that, this is truly a quality first release for SycAmour. They’ve definitely come a long way in their writing skills since first doing their cover of Fall Out Boy’s Dance Dance. And for those who purchase a Hard Copy of their EP get a bonus track cover of the song Set Fire To the Rain, originally by Adele. Comparing the two cover tracks, it’s clearly night and day at how far SycAmour has come, from their guitar work, to their vocals. I definitely hope to hear more from them in the future, and I fully recommend picking up a copy of their Ep Obscure.