Extended Play (EP)


Independent release, 2013


REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg


What can I say; I’m a sucker for big guitars.

That fat, ringing, slightly jangly, super-full guitar sound gets me every time. AC/DC, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, the Gin Blossoms, the Black Crowes, Jet, and the list goes on—these are groups that hit you again and again with a big riff that simply demands your attention.

Whether my attention wanes after that initial grab depends largely on the quality of the songs, and that’s where Andreas—a group with a nice, full sound, a memorable singer, and strong musicianship throughout—has room to improve. Flawed but undeniably impressive, their debut EP Extended Play shows abundant potential.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

On an EP, you want to lead with your best, and Andreas definitely does with “Beyond Repair,” a cut with all the elements you want to hear in a lead single: powerful drive, a catchy riff, a nice surge on the chorus, and a lyrical hook that sticks in your head. The sound owes a lot to Petty, that urgent, slightly greasy, twin-guitars-plus-organ wall of sound.

Second track “I Bet” shifts gears immediately, a mid-tempo number that revs up and falls back repeatedly. When it picks up on the choruses, lead vocalist Brian Dahl develops an Axl Rose keen that really works, and adds interest as he veers back and forth between his lower natural register and the higher pitch he hits when cinching it up. “I Bet” also reveals itself as a well-arranged cut that creates space to shine for the entire band, which includes Dahl on vocals and guitar, Jason Brandow on lead guitar and backing vocals, Jennifer Lockman on keys and backing vocals, Adam Payne on bass and backing vocals, and Mike Medhurst on drums.

“Letter From A Friend” has a catchy melody and some nice textures—the interplay of the lead guitar and keys on the verses in particular—and throws a lot at you in terms of arrangement, but ultimately feels like somewhat generic classic rock. Andreas definitely knows how to build it up and break it down, but it somehow feels a little too familiar here.

Offering up another side of the group’s sound, “Let Her Do” is a slow, bluesy ballad, heavy on Lockman’s moody Hammond organ and Brandow’s churning chords. It’s hard not to think of the Black Crowes on this one, with a hint of a Southern rock feel, a skyscraping solo and a heavy finish.

This brief appetizer—clocking in at five tracks and 23 minutes—finishes with “Time After Time,” a solid enough tune, even if the chorus feels a little predictable. The best things here are the guitar/keyboard interplay on the verses (again), the stacked vocals on the chorus, and the trebly tone Brandow puts on his solo, a cool sound Ronnie Montrose used a few times back in the day.

As a showcase for Andreas, Extended Play reveals a group with strong tools and a lot of promise. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next for them.

Rating: B-

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