“The Albatross” starts Commonweather’s self-titled EP like the introduction to a concert. It opens it up beautifully, and the curtain being drawn up to reveal the band on stage almost seems like it could be tangible if I reached my hand towards it. There is a powerful emotion that seems deep-seeded into every line of the song, and it is conveyed through a style that will take listeners back to when alternative rock had grit to it. Everything about this track will implant listeners into the moodiest, homiest venue they can think of. The gruff, raw vocals, and the perfectly gripping instrumentals all produce a moody, brooding tone that would make Heathcliff jealous.
The bitterness is more evident on “Bedridden,” and it’s very human. The back and forth vocals provided by Justin Olin and Patrick Maloney add a new dimension to the song, giving it more character. If Linkin Park and Balance and Composure had a lovechild, I daresay Commonweather would be it. The hauntingly blunt “Hollow” packs a punch, only further emphasized by the powerful guitar skills of Alec Mackowiak and Kyle Ahlstrom, providing the perfect backdrop to the harmonization of Olin and Maloney (both on guitar and bass, respectively). The track takes a turn towards a rougher, hardcore style, indicating the band’s explorative sound and the development that is still progressing.
Commonweather finishes off with “Erase Your Name,” which captures the haunting nature a loss (specifically a breakup) can inflict. Raine Erb’s drumming helps maintain a steady breath to the life of the song, all the while aiding in the pure emotion being conveyed. The track is a breath of fresh air; managing to add a moody, brinking on aggressive, palpable frustration that does not make you flinch, but, instead, draws you in. I have to talk about the bridge of the song, which had me completely enraptured. It was poetic in the lyrical sense, and decisively a game changer instrumentally. The track closes out the EP perfectly, while also being the most noteworthy track that will stick with listeners long after the fade out.
Chicago is known for being home to some of the best artists, especially in the alternative rock arena, but even hailing from such a city, it is a rarity to hear a band that sounds so developed, and so confident in their sound on an EP. Just listening to Commonweather’s EP, it is obvious that we will see big things from them soon, because they already have enough quality in their work to compete with some of their more experienced counterparts. I, for one, cannot wait to see the results.
For more on Commonweather, please click HERE.
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