FUTURE THEORY – Single Review: “Peace of Mind”

Piece of Mind

I’ve featured quite a few artists and bands from the UK on this blog, and one of my favorites is the astonishingly talented Future Theory. The Lincolnshire-based foursome consists of Max Sander on rhythm guitar and vocals, Chris Moore on lead guitar, Rex Helley on bass, and Rohan Parrett on drums. Drawing inspiration from Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Soundgarden, Audioslave, Queens of the Stone Age, Coldplay and The Verve – and how can you possibly go wrong with inspiration from those legendary bands? – they’ve developed a lavish sound built on elements of alternative and progressive rock, shoegaze, psychedelia and funk. I’m not exaggerating when I use the word ‘astonishing’ to describe them, as their outstanding songwriting and musicianship has a complexity and depth that’s impressive for such a young band. And Max’s amazing vocal style possesses a nuanced emotional intensity that seems mature beyond his years.

Future Theory4

Future Theory released their spectacular debut EP Fool’s Dream in 2016 (which I reviewed), then followed in April of this year with a brilliant single “Fractured Nation,” which I also reviewed. Today they return with a new single “Peace of Mind,” and it’s another stellar track with complex melodies, intelligent lyrics and dazzling instrumentation.

The song kicks off with exuberant jangly guitars, crystalline synths and sharp percussion, all melding together to paint a rich tapestry of sound. Max’s sultry vocals have a raw, vulnerable quality that’s quite pleasing to my ears, though it’s sometimes difficult to understand some of the lyrics he’s singing. The instrumentals build to a turbulent mix of heavy bass, piercing guitars and crashing cymbals in the bridge, then break down to clear jangly riffs that seem to sparkle like glitter on the airwaves through to the end of the track. It’s a dark and beautiful song.

The lyrics speak to the struggle of maintaining a loving relationship by reassuring your significant other of your love and devotion in the face of her alcohol addiction: “Forget about your day and your worries now. Go back into the warmth and find your wants in supply. Cause I adore you and all the things you do for me.” But then he’s trying to hold on to his peace of mind while applying some tough love to convince her to quit drinking: “I gotta stay here. Piece of warmth. Peace of mind. Be so warm, be so quiet. Love factor aside, you need a kick in your behind. You try to make her realize the alcohol don’t fix inside.

Connect with Future Theory:  Facebook /  Twitter /  Instagram
Stream their music:  Soundcloud /  Spotify /  Google Play /  YouTube
Purchase on:  iTunes /  Bandcamp

Album Review – no mad: “Motions in Black”

no mad album

no mad is a rather unique alternative funk-rock band. It was formed in 2017 by five nomadic professional musicians with the purpose of recording songs that would eventually become the album Motions in Black, which dropped in late May. They’re all pretty talented artists, as evidenced by their superb melodic, guitar-driven rock sound. Though based in London, UK, they refer to themselves as “nomads in a nomadic world.” The band’s songwriter provided some background information about no mad and how Motions in Black came to be.

“The band really started with the songwriter unearthing old songs from cardboard boxes in 2016. Some of these songs had been written 20-30 years ago but never recorded. He met a few friends, friends of friends, etc., and in 2017 the band was formed to record a first 10-song album (the repertoire has a total of 40-50 songs, so plenty for more albums to come!). The songs that were chosen for the debut album Motions in Black were some of the older songs and also some of the darker ones, perhaps with some 1990s nostalgia. 

The five members of the band that recorded the album included the singer, guitarist, bassist, drummer, and the songwriter who did back-vocals and other bits. As modern nomads and London musicians, we came from very different backgrounds as well as music genres. The “D” in no mad is the “The Doctor.” He’s an incredible drummer and has been involved in lots of rock and metal projects, toured in Europe etc. In 2017 he became a father. His family settled in Lisbon and he had to leave London, so sadly, the band was down one. 

The band members are not really trying to stay anonymous, but they like their privacy, and being all professional musicians, they are also busy on other musical projects of their own. Fans can probably figure out who they are by following the tags in some tweets or Instagram pictures. It’s just that no mad believe in the power of the songs, the melodies and lyrics. It’s not about who we are or how we look, it’s about the music and message. Having said that, we’re not hiding either. “The NO” came to England when he was 13. He’s a brilliant guitarist who lives for his music. “The M” is an amazing bassist who’s been involved in lots of rock and metal bands, is a reference on his instrument, and has also settled in London after coming over from Europe. Singer-drummer “The A” is a bit of a different case ’cause he thinks he’s an alien, and actually calls himself “Alien”. He won’t say which planet he’s from though…. your guess is as good as ours on that one!”

The album kicks off nicely with the funky and upbeat “Car Jam.” A delightfully funky bass line, snappy drums and jazzy organ form a solid foundation for layers of intricate guitar work and lively vocals. The lyrics are an admonition to a rigid, uptight person to just loosen up, quit being so judgmental and have a good time – get down with the funk and do the car jam baby! no mad takes a more serious turn on “Just Another Love Story,” a song about trying to convince yourself a relationship is over, but you can’t get over her and keep imagining you see her everywhere you go. “But each time I’m feeling blue. I fall into some freaking view. Over you.” The guitar work is awesome, continuously surprising us with new textures that go from chiming to funky to bluesy, and everything in between. The percussion is fantastic too, with flourishes of military-style drumbeats that seem to drive home the bitterness expresses in the lyrics. It’s a great track; guitar-driven rock doesn’t get much better than this.

The beautifully-filmed video shows “The M” walking around Camden, where he thinks he repeatedly spots his old girlfriend.

Another standout track, and one of my favorites, is the dark “To the Other Side.” The gorgeous haunting melody hits you right between the ears, and as always, the guitar work is splendid. The impassioned vocals of “The A” have a seductive, yet slightly dangerous quality as he sings the lyrics that could mean he’s about to die or is suffering from a mental breakdown. “You know I love you Donna. Don’t want to leave you now. You know I love you don’ya. I’ll never let you down.” I really like the play on the words “Donna” and “don’ya.” The backing female vocals are beguiling, and add to the song’s haunting vibe.

As the album progresses, I’m blown away by the band’s ability to write such beautiful and memorable melodies. “Anna” has a fantastic hook, along with plenty of rock grooves that make for a really nice track. The song’s about a women who seems lost in her own world, with the singer trying to break through to her. “Anna, Pretty Anna what do you see? When you’re waiting for a message but there’s nothing on the screen. How d’you feel?” Clocking in at nearly six minutes, “Sweet Loneliness” has an almost epic quality, with extensive lyrics that read like a long, deep poem: “Why did you have to go so soon. It’s like you left an empty room. You filled my life with your absence.  Pronounced an unfinished sentence. Sweet loneliness, my old friend I’ve come to be with you again. You are my peace, my consolation. And I’ll be with you till the end.” The bluesy riffs and haunting melody are positively mesmerizing, and I can safely state that I’m head over heels in love with this album, even though I’m only halfway through it!

Next up is the gorgeous title track “Motions in Black.” The track starts off with “The A” singing “Da da da da da da da” to a jangly acoustic guitar, then the track opens up into an achingly beautiful melodic riff of jangly and bluesy guitars. The song was written in 1985, and speaks to a love that used to be: “If you wanta be anything to me. I’ll take no other feeling than your sentiment of love. And if you want a chat. Why don’t we talk it over. Motions in black.” It’s absolutely sublime, and another of my favorite tracks on the album.

The guys return to a funky mood with “Get Along,” essentially an anti-war song that urges us to stop fighting and learn to love and accept one another and get along: “We’re all sons of the World. On this I’ll give you my word. We’ve been waiting too long. Why can’t we all get along?” The bouncy and funky “Downtown” tells the saga of Betty, who went to the big city to try and make it on her looks and charm, but ended up in trouble and on the streets. “She’s not a bitch or a witch I realized. She’s just another human being. / I hear an angel crying. Down Town.”

Mental Revolution” is an interesting track, with two completely different melodies. The song opens with a soaring anthemic chorus, then abruptly transitions to an uptempo funk-infused rock reminiscent of the kind the Average White Band played back in the 70s. The anthemic chorus is repeated halfway through, then the melody shifts back to the funky rock tempo. Album closer “Tonight” is an upbeat rock song of love and devotion: “Tonight, I want you to know. Wherever you go I’ll be there for you.” The track features some fine guitar and keyboards.

To sum up, Motions in Black is a fantastic album and stellar debut for no mad. It really showcases their skill for writing poetic lyrics and gorgeous, guitar-driven melodies, and bringing them to magnificent life. I eagerly look forward to them recording more of those already-written songs.

Connect with no mad:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on  Spotify / Apple Music
Purchase on  Bandcamp / iTunes

Top 30 Songs for August 26-September 1, 2018

1. JUMPSUIT – twenty one pilots (1)
2. GOLD RUSH – Death Cab for Cutie (2)
3. CLOSER – IAMWARFACE (3)
4. RED MOON SKY – Face of Stone (5)
5. 44 – Oli Barton & the Movement (6)
6. UNWIND – John Defeo (4)
7. NATURAL – Imagine Dragons (8)
8. FEVER PITCH – Rainbow Kitten Surprise (12)
9. LIVING IN THE FUTURE – Dawes (13)
10. DIZZY – The Million Reasons (14)
11. SIT NEXT TO ME – Foster the People (9) 46th week on chart
12. HUNGER – Florence + the Machine (7)
13. NEVERMIND – Dennis Lloyd (15)
14. WHEN THE CURTAIN FALLS – Greta Van Fleet (20)
15. HI HELLO – Johnny Marr (10)
16. I FEEL LIKE I’M DROWNING – Two Feet (11) 20th week on chart
17. HUMILITY – Gorillaz featuring George Benson (16)
18. GHOST – Badflower (22)
19. RIDE OR DIE – The Knocks featuring Foster the People (21)
20. SUCH A SIMPLE THING – Ray LaMontagne (17)
21. QUARTER PAST MIDNIGHT – Bastille (18)
22. SOMETHING HUMAN – Muse (26)
23. BURN THE HOUSE DOWN – AJR (27)
24. FLAWLESS – Dorothy (19)
25. BETTER NOW – Post Malone (N)
26. ALL MY FRIENDS – The Revivalists (N)
27. CRAZY – From Ashes to New (N)
28. CITY LOOKS PRETTY – Courtney Barnett (N)
29. DEAD TO ME – Reality Suite (N)
30. PANIC – Agency Panic (N)

TRAVERSE THE ABYSS – EP Review: “Traverse the Abyss”

Traverse the Abyss album art

Traverse the Abyss is a heavy metal band based in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Their intense, face-melting sound draws from a myriad of metal sub-genres, including classic heavy metal, thrash metal, death metal, nu-metal and metal core, as well as hard rock, rock’n’roll and even punk influences. They formed in 2016 and quickly got to work recording their first album Gamble of Life, which was released that November. It was an impressive debut, and you can read my review here. Since then, they’ve dropped three singles, all of which are now included on their new self-titled EP Traverse the Abyss. 

The band has undergone a few personnel changes since their beginning, and the current line up is now Eric Abyss (Vocals), “Iron” Mike White (Guitar), Mike “Bnoc” Bieniecki (Bass/Backing Vocals), Matt Mierzejewski (Guitar) and Nathan Cardona (Drums).

The guys get right down to business with the scorching opening track “Failure.” Our ears are greeted with a wailing guitar solo that’s quickly broken by an explosion of stabbing shredded guitars, jack-hammer death metal riffs, and speaker-blowing drums. Halfway through, the guys throw some nice melodic riffage into the maelstrom of furious guitars, adding texture and complexity to the track. Eric screams the lyrics with a savage ferocity that’s almost frightening.

I hope he has a good ear, nose and throat specialist, because he’ll surely need one after he’s done ripping his vocal cords to shreds on “Dead Weight.” This is a real head-banger, with frantic riffs of raging guitars, crushing bass and pummeling drums.  Eric brutally screams the biting lyrics that are a total repudiation of someone who’d fucked you over: “I think you’ve mistaken me for someone who truly gives a fuck.”

Traverse the Abyss turns introspective on “Time Flies,” ruminating on life changes and the inevitable loss and regret many of us experience with the passage of time: “I have to live with decisions that I’ve made. Yet they make me who I am today. / I lie awake every night and reminisce. About my friends and family and times that I miss, and how they are never coming back.”

The guys continue on their rampaging path of sonic destruction with the face-melting “Family” and “Inner Demons.” The furious, fast-paced riffs rain down hot and heavy, but with an amazing intricacy, and Eric’s death metal growls are positively bestial. They inject a heavy dose of rock’n’roll into their metal on “Battle Cry,” one of my favorite tracks on the album. It opens with a playful burst of fiendish laughter, then Eric sings “A scooba dooba do bop ba bop bam boo” before frantic rolling guitars, heavy bass and thunderous drums take over. “Iron” Mike and Matt tear through the airwaves with jaw-dropping riffs as sharp as razor wire, while Eric screams the lyrics that are a clarion call against tyranny.

I thought I’d heard the most brutal music the band had to offer, but I was wrong! The guys really bare their death metal teeth and dial up the ferocity on the final track “Blink.” Man, the staccato death metal riffs are like machine-gun fire on steroids, and the pummeling bass and drums so powerful I could feel them in my gut. Eric seems to stretch his vocal abilities to the breaking point, his screams and growls matching the fury of the instrumentals note for note. It’s a great finish to a fantastic, hard-hitting album.

With their sophomore effort, Traverse the Abyss further confirm their strengths for writing outstanding heavy/death metal songs with compelling, relevant lyrics and great melodies, as well as their skills at bringing them to life with their impressive musicianship. With two great albums now under their belt, I would safely say they’re a band on an upward trajectory.

Catch them at one of these upcoming shows:

Connect with Traverse the Abyss:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Apple Music / Reverbnation
Purchase on  iTunes / Bandcamp

AGENCY PANIC – Single Review: “Panic”

Agency Panic 2

Agency Panic is an alternative/progressive metal rock band based in Wexford, Ireland, and in July they made an auspicious debut with the release of their powerful new single “Panic.” It’s the first song off what they are calling their ‘drip feed’ EP, which is being released one song at a time. Making the hard-hitting noise are J.D.K. on vocals, Tubs on guitars, Lee on bass, and Revsy on drums.

“Panic” is four minutes and 49 seconds of hard rock perfection. The track opens with a blast of crashing drums and fierce guitar, and never lets up. The guitar work is phenomenal – Tubs sets the airwaves afire with scorching riffs of shredded and wailing guitars that are pure bliss for those of us who love intense, guitar-driven melodic rock. Lee lays down a solid bedrock of heavy bass, while Revsy pounds his drum kit like a man possessed. J.D.K.’s strong, passionate vocals are chilling as he snarls the dark lyrics, becoming downright feral in the song’s finale when he screams the words alongside the raging guitars, sending shivers up and down my spine.

It’s an incredible song that leaves me wanting to hear more from this amazing group of musicians, and I cannot wait for their next single! The intense black and white video shows the band performing the song in a darkened room with ominous-looking shadows, alternating with scenes of a man stealing, then destroying, medical records and cutting off his fingerprints in what appears to be an attempt to hide his very existence. Later in the video are scenes of civil unrest and other disturbing images, juxtaposed with the band’s performance of the now almost violent music and vocals. Have a look and prepare to be blown away:

Connect with Agency Panic:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream “Panic” on  Spotify /  Apple Music
Purchase on  Bandcamp /  iTunes

Top 30 Songs for August 19-25, 2018

1. JUMPSUIT – twenty one pilots (1)
2. GOLD RUSH – Death Cab for Cutie (3)
3. CLOSER – IAMWARFACE (5)
4. UNWIND – John Defeo (2)
5. RED MOON SKY – Face of Stone (8)
6. 44 – Oli Barton & the Movement (9)
7. HUNGER – Florence + the Machine (4)
8. NATURAL – Imagine Dragons (19)
9. SIT NEXT TO ME – Foster the People (7) 45th week on chart
10. HI HELLO – Johnny Marr (11)
11. I FEEL LIKE I’M DROWNING – Two Feet (6)
12. FEVER PITCH – Rainbow Kitten Surprise (13)
13. LIVING IN THE FUTURE – Dawes (14)
14. DIZZY – The Million Reasons (17)
15. NEVERMIND – Dennis Lloyd (18)
16. HUMILITY – Gorillaz featuring George Benson (15)
17. SUCH A SIMPLE THING – Ray LaMontagne (10)
18. QUARTER PAST MIDNIGHT – Bastille (12)
19. FLAWLESS – Dorothy (16)
20. WHEN THE CURTAIN FALLS – Greta Van Fleet (25)
21. RIDE OR DIE – The Knocks featuring Foster the People (24)
22. GHOST – Badflower (29)
23. GIVE YOURSELF A TRY – The 1975 (20)
24. COLORS – Beck (21)
25. FOUR OUT OF FIVE – Arctic Monkeys (22)
26. SOMETHING HUMAN – Muse (N)
27. BURN THE HOUSE DOWN – AJR (N)
28. BLOOM – Troye Sivan (26)
29. KAMIKAZE – WALK THE MOON (27)
30. LIFE TO FIX – The Record Company (23)

REALITY SUITE – EP Review: “Awaken”

Reality Suite

Reality Suite is a New Jersey-based rock band with a fresh sound defined by scorching riffs and anthemic melodies. The band was formed in 2009 by three life-long friends, Brian King (drums) Antonio Valenti (bass) and Joe Padula (guitars). After struggling through a string of male and female vocalists, the wonderful Kimmii Heart came to the rescue, and their winning lineup was firmly established. They released their debut album Skinn to critical acclaim in 2015, and followed a year later with the single “Bury Me Alive.” This May, they dropped their EP Awaken, which I have the pleasure of reviewing today.

The EP is a deeply personal work for the band, each of whom have experienced the death of a loved one in the past few years. In an interview with PopBreak.com, Brian explained: “During the writing for what became “Awaken,” Kimmii and I realized most of what we were writing about were losing loved ones. Each of us had lost someone close to us in the last two years. I lost my mother in 2016 to lung cancer – which spawned the song “Cut, Burn Bruise.” Kimmii lost a close family friend which inspired “Grave.” Antonio lost his mother and Joe had lost an Aunt in 2017 – so, as much as “Grave” and “Cut” are about missing a loved one, in the context with the other songs – “Awaken” becomes an album about recovery and rebirth…leaving the pain behind and moving on. The songs “Live Now Forever,” “Dead to Me,” and “Lust” drive that point home.”

Dead to Me” perfectly exemplifies their dynamic, hard-hitting sound. Brian’s pounding drumbeats establish a sturdy foundation for Joe’s gritty riffs and Antonio’s buzzsaw bass lines, though the song also has moments of relative calm where glossy synths and delicate guitar notes dominate. Kimmii’s emotive vocals run the gamut from seductive purr to malevolent snarl to impassioned wail as she throws dark shade on someone she’s clearly had enough of: “I’m done playing nice with your sick little ways. Breaking my back just to keep you away. It’s over this time I’m losing my mind. You think that I’m blind well I’m feeling like – You’re dead to me!” The music and vocals ultimately build to a crescendo, with sweeping strings, wailing guitars and a soaring harmonic chorus that make for a dramatic finish.

Grave” is a dark anthemic ballad with fantastic guitar work that wends its way amongst the crushing bass and crashing cymbals. Kimmii’s passionate echoed vocals are marvelous. The band dials things up a notch on “Live Now Forever,” a terrific head-banger with fierce riffs of fuzzy guitars and humming bass. I like the way Joe makes his guitar squeal, and his blistering riffs and Brian’s pummeling drums in the bridge and final chorus are fire. Kimmii’s vocal gymnastics are impressive as she matches the fury of the instrumentals note for note. It’s one of my favorite tracks on the EP.

Another powerful anthem, “Cut, Burn, Bruise” is about missing someone so desperately you’d do almost anything to have them back: “Can’t bring you back. So I drive through the night. Going fast makes me feel alive. You make me feel alive. / Love’s a cut, a burn, a bruise. But I loved you til I’m black and blue. Feeling broken, I am learning to live without you. But I’d die for another day with you.” Reality Suite keeps the hard-driving rock grooves coming with “Lust.” These musicians are really at the top of their game, delivering more of their signature fiery riffs, throbbing bass and tumultuous percussion, and Kimmii’s dazzling vocals raise plenty of goosebumps. It’s a great track, and Awaken is an awesome little EP that packs one hell of a mighty wallop.

Connect with Reality Suite:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Soundcloud / Apple Music
Purchase on iTunes / cdbaby

VERIS – Single Review: “Gimme More”

VERIS Gimme More

Boston duo VERIS burst onto the indie music scene in early summer 2017 with their infectious ear worm of a dance track “Opening Night.” They followed in September with their sultry and seductive “Devil in the Details,” which was a Top 10 hit on my Weekly Top 30 Chart. (I featured both songs on this blog, which you can read here and here.) Now they return to please our eardrums with a fantastic new single “Gimme More, and they sound better than ever!

Veris

VERIS is singer/songwriter/guitarist AJ Edwards and songwriter/drummer Mark Hylander, and with assistance from Bleu (William James McAuley III), who produced and co-mixed the song with Ducky, they’ve created a stylish and sexy track that really showcases their musical versatility. The song is different from their previous two singles – it’s always a good thing to change things up and bring fresh sounds – but still delivers a catchy melody, cool grooves, smart lyrics, great vocals and fine instrumentals, all things we’ve come to love about VERIS.

With an irresistible strutting bass-driven dance beat that grabs hold of both hips, “Gimme More” quickly has us in its thrall. The seductive dance groove is punctuated in spots by trap-like break downs and lots of quirky electronic synths, making for an interesting and exciting track.  AJ’s smooth vocals are wonderful, soaring to a pleasing falsetto as he sings of feeling besotted with desire for another:

I can’t help I’m impatient
Is it a crime, lock me up
I’ve got nothing but time
Is this more than just an obsession
Please let me in, gotta feel, gotta feel it yeah
Gimme more

It’s a great song, and certain to be another hit for the creative duo. Take a listen:

Connect with VERIS:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on Spotify and Soundcloud, and purchase on iTunes

LAZY QUEEN – Single Review: “Turn From Void”

Lazy Queen
Photographs by Anine Desire

As EclecticMusicLover, I have a special fondness for artists and bands who push boundaries and go outside the proverbial box in the creation of their music and/or identity. So it was my lucky day when I was contacted by Henrik Søberg of Norwegian band Lazy Queen for consideration of their new single “Turn From Void.” In their bio, the band states they “speak for the disenfranchised, the outcasts, the queers, the allies, the feminists, for the pissed off, for the isolated and lonely, the weirdos and the freaks.” Since I fall into several of those categories myself, they’re definitely for me! Their music is a loud and intense mix of noise rock, grunge and punk – the sonic equivalent of a car crash, as someone so eloquently put it.

Lazy Queen was started by Søberg in 2013, who’s Norwegian with Colombian roots and gender fluid, while they were living in Brooklyn, New York. The band then consisted of Søberg and three American musicians, and they released four singles and a fantastic EP Drift to critical praise from both national and international press. They earned a broad following from performing in numerous shows in the New York region, a tour in Puerto Rico, and opening slots for legendary bands such as Psychic TV. Søberg had hoped to settle in New York, but a bureaucratic snafu at the Norwegian embassy forced them to return to Norway.  Upon returning to Oslo, Søberg reformed Lazy Queen with Norwegian musicians Jonas Røyeng, Jon Bernhard Hunskaar, Peter Mortensen and Petter Anderdal. They’re now recording songs for a forthcoming EP or album, and “Turn From Void” is the first single.

The song is brilliant, with numerous melodic change-ups that keep us in a near-constant state of surprise. There’s a lot going on, and it took several listens for me to fully digest this complex track. It starts off with a little acoustic guitar riff, then Søberg begins singing “Take what you need, and leave the rest to me.” A heavy drumbeat soon kicks in, along with gnarly guitars and a humming bass line that take the song deep into grunge territory.

The guitar riff that appears in the chorus is absolutely captivating and so damn good! Søberg’s vocals grow more passionate and raw as the music swells, backed by a vocal harmonies that bringing goosebumps. Suddenly, we’re hit with a wild punk rock flourish of frenzied guitars and thunderous percussion, while Søberg wails at the top of his lungs. Just as quickly, things calm back down to the same acoustic riff and gentle vocals we heard at the opening, until the song ends with a massive crash of guitar chord and cymbal. Wow, what an awesome track! I cannot wait to hear what new songs Lazy Queen will throw at our ears.

Connect with Lazy Queen:  Website / Facebook / Instagram
Stream their music on Soundcloud / Spotify / Apple Music
Purchase on  iTunes, and Drift may also be purchased on Bandcamp

SUM Releases Video For Their Uplifting New Single “It’s Alright to Be Me”

SUM2

SUM is a New York City-based band with an admirable philosophy and loads of talent. They’ve created their identity from the meaning of the Latin word “Sum” (pronounced “soom”), which means “to be” or “I am.” Their aim is to inspire us to accept who we are and to understand and embrace our own uniqueness.  Their exuberant music style, born from a fusion of jazz, soul, hip hop and pop, is beautifully showcased on their uplifting new single “It’s Alright to Be Me.” It’s the first single from their forthcoming self-titled debut album SUM, due for release in late September.

The band is lead by drummer, composer and arranger Steve Belvilus, and the lovely soulful vocals are courtesy of the engaging Patryce Williams, who’s also a professional actress. Rounding out the ensemble are Joel Desroches (Piano), Olivier R. (Keys), Andrew Gould (Sax), Gil “XL” Defay (Trumpet) and Francesco Beccaro (Bass). In an interview with VENTS Magazine, Steve explained their reasoning behind writing “It’s Alright to Be Me”:  “When we played shows, people kept messing up the name of our band and we always had to explain the meaning. So I decided to write a song that hopefully will become a hit so that we don’t have to explain ourselves anymore.

Lyrically, the track explains what the band is all about, and was created to be their defining song, and also an anthem of empowerment:

At a young age struggling to become all I can be
I was afraid to show the treasures inside of me
Many people wanted to make fun of me
But now I see the light that’s been in me

The light is the essence inside of me
The “I” you see is bright and shines all over me
SUM is the Latin word that defines me
It means the “I” that’s bright in me

I don’t care if you don’t like what’s within
I’d rather be myself cause that’s all I can be
SUM means I or to be the essence of me
It’s alright to be me, that’s what SUM means to me

The heartwarming and charming video skillfully captures the message expressed in the lyrics. It opens in a classroom, where Patryce plays both a teacher and a student who’s tormented by a classmate. Later on, the band is shown performing the song at a small party, and the boy who teased the childhood Patryce is now an adult. He approaches her adult self with a gift and an apology, and all is forgiven as they hug one another. Take a look:

Connect with SUM:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream or purchase “It’s Alright to Be Me” on Bandcamp