A Little Background:
South Of Eden are a brand new name to me coming from Columbus Ohio. The 4 piece comprising of Ehab Omran (vocals and acoustic guitar), Justin Young (lead guitar and vocals), Tom McCullough (drums) and Nick Frantianne (bass) have just released an EP called The Talk on Lava/Republic Records and it is pretty damned joyous! The members used to be in different bands, Ehab and Nick were in bands doing music like Iron Maiden and Alice In Chains (the latter can definitely be heard on this EP) whilst Justin and Tom had been in bands influenced by a mix of Van Halen (again that can be heard here) and Black Sabbath. One of the things they say in the press release is that they play live in the studio without any click tracks and they do not do anything there that they cannot perform in front of an audience. I can say that with the excellent production of Grammy award winner Greg Wells (Adele and Deftones amongst others), each instrument is clear throughout and extra applause for making sure the bass is heard beautifully throughout! There is no doubt everything here can be played live.
There are 4 songs which I will speak a little about here. Opener and EP title “The Talk” starts totally in your face rock and roll before it drops down to a mix of both Led Zeppelin and Soundgarden especially on the vocal front. The main part of the song is groovy rock but whenever they drop it down the funk elements come through, they swing, they groove. The song is an absolute toe-tapper and headbanger, especially on the chorus. They even manage to throw in some time changes about three-quarters of the way through, possibly just to show they can. The solo isn’t particularly long but it is solid and effective. He gets to solo more on other tracks.
“Solo” has that Queen “Another One Bites The Dust” funk about it with Nick doing his very best John Deacon. Vocally I started to notice how high he can go at times, which he does in an almost playful style, he is but toying with us but in a good way. Again my notes mention Soundgarden due to the voice and the melody in the chorus but the rest is funkier musically. Another tasteful guitar solo that once again matches the mood of the song. Justin seems to be in the Alex Lifeson school of guitarists, ie he doesn’t believe everything is about him, the SONG actually is the important thing. Kudos! “Morning Brew” has a very different vibe mixing it up with a 60s guitar sound which made me think of The Beatles for a bit. With lovely harmonies and a blues solo, this shows the more gentle and thoughtful side of the band. There is an element of latter era Robert Plant with its kind of “world music” vibe going on.
The last song is “Dancing With Fire” and has a video which you can check out below. A more foot-stomping piece with elements of Guns N Roses in parts and a shed load of tasty drum fills/solos. The bass continues that funky undercurrent to the more hard rock element of the guitar and drums. This is the song that Van Halen‘s influence comes through with some shredding guitar work. Again it fits the song. The funky drop-down allows some almost playful soloing as well. Ah the word “playful”, I have used it a couple of times with good reason. They seem to be having a ball and they have made something that pulls you into that moment.
A very strong EP from a band that takes a lot of similar influences as other “new wave of classic rock” bands but yet manages to stand out from the crowd. If they can perform the songs as well as this in a hot sweaty club then a bloody marvellous night is guaranteed, I think. Very promising introduction with great playing, strong vocals and infectious grooves making them a band to truly watch out for.
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