Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Review of Ashes To Oranges

Hey everyone, Dana here. I'm on a writing spree; lately I've only been writing one blog post every couple of months or so due to writer's block and the absence of inspiration. Lucky for me, I've been having a lot of inspiration the past few days and it's turning back into how it used to be my weekly blog back in my college days.(Yay!) Last week, I reviewed a local Long Island two-piece alternative rock/blues band Raw Dangle's EP, Loyal Dog. Right now, I'm seeing a bit of a pattern here; because I'm reviewing another two-piece hard rock band...hailing from from Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey: Ashes To Oranges.
Left: Joe Right: Tyler
Since their formation in April 2014, Ashes To Oranges consists of lead vocalist/guitarrist Tyler Schafer and drummer Joe Edwards. Their influences include, but not limited to, Local H, Queens of the Stone Age, Incubus, Nirvana, Foo Fighters and Silversun Pickups. After nearly two years of playing shows throughout the tri-state area and beyond, Ashes To Oranges is releasing their debut EP, Inanimate Animal on  Friday, April 15th at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch, New Jersey.

So how the hell did I discover a local band from New Jersey, you ask? Well, last summer when my band opened up for Logan's Room at their CD release show, Ashes To Oranges was one of the fellow opening bands who we had the utmost pleasure of sharing the stage with. When I was watching their set, I was intrigued because I've never seen so much energy from only two musicians before. I'm used to seeing your typical rock band setup; you know...two guitars, bass and drums at almost every local show I've ever played and been to; never once have I seen a two piece band before. As their set went on, I felt a connection with these guys, and we exchanged contact information.(Interstate networking, FTW!)
 Without further ado, let's dive into Inanimate Animal. *insert applause here*

Let's take a look at this album track by track, shall we?

Track 1: Mirrors

The album begins with Tyler's guitar, and then Joe's drums join in shortly after with this lightning fast rhythm that sounds like something out of Queens of the Stone Age's album Songs For The Deaf. When I hear this song coming out of my speakers, I close my eyes and imagine a giant mosh pit breaking out with how much energy this song has. I can't help but headbang. Like I said earlier, this energy is coming from only two guys. Imagine a traditional rock band set up...needless to say, it would melt your skin off. After about two minutes in, the tempo slows down a bit as a "whoa whoa whoa" chant emerges from a distance. If I hear a "whoa" chant in songs, it stays in my head, and if you have a song that's an earworm, you've written a damn good song. The song ends with a guitar solo that highlights the "whoa" chant as the song comes to an abrupt stop. This is definitely the best track to kick off the EP. The high energy makes you want to hear more from what these guys have in store. On to the next...

Track 2: Mother Goose

Yep, you guessed it. The title of the track speaks for itself. This song is exactly what you expect: nursery rhymes that aren't so innocent. 
We've got another head-banging song here. I'm going to be completely honest; when I first heard this song, I was essentially on the ground laughing. This song made me laugh harder than Weird Al Yankovic's parodies or the hilarious songs Psychostick released throughout the years. I've always loved satire; and if it's in music, I love it even more. In short, the nursery rhymes we've been hearing since we were little just got completely ripped apart by a heavy distorted repetitive guitar riff ,crashing cymbals, and Tyler's pseudo-heavy metal screams. Good bye, childhood! It was nice knowing you. This is by far the most entertaining song that stays in my mind even after the song ends.

Track 3: Euthanasia

Unlike the last two tracks, Euthanasia begins with Joe's drums and then Tyler's guitar joins in shortly afterward. Not too much later, Tyler's vocals come in with this incredible harmony that reminds me of 
Alice In Chains. Whether it's the rhythm or the harmonies, I can imagine this song being played on local New York Nassau County radio station 94.3 The Shark. All I hear is 90's alternative favorite genre of music.You don't hear a lot of harmonies with local bands much anymore; it's usually just one vocalist and maybe one other backing vocalist. You don't hear a lot of depth with only one vocalist, but Tyler is an exception here. He's the primary vocalist of this band, yet harmonies exist here. Bravo. This might be my favorite song off this album.

Track 4: Hypnotize

And so we come to the final track of the EP. Hypnotize sounds like Nirvana meets Local H. You can hear raw emotions emanating from Tyler's voice that pays homage to Kurt Cobain and Scott Lucas in this track. I'm still blown away by the harmonies I hear during the choruses: "But you still call yourself a friend" or "But you still call this place a home." From what I get out of the lyrics of this song, it's about moving forward from any hardships and tragedies in the past and to keep on living. What a positive, heartwarming message to listen to if you're having a really hard time. It makes you feel like you're not alone in this world, and that's how all songs should be; to send a message out to the world and remind us that we're all together in this and everything will be okay. The last thing you hear is "Let's wake up to a brighter day" with a lone guitar chord fading out as the album comes to an end. What an incredible last remark to send out to your fans.

Wow. I've always felt something special with Ashes To Oranges since I discovered them. When I found that they were releasing this EP, I knew something special would come out of it, but this album has completely suceeded my expectations. The amount of chemistry Tyler and Joe have with each other makes this band and album amazing.  Just two great friends that have a passion for music, and s0metimes that's all you need. Without the chemistry, the music doesn't flow. If this four track EP gives me goose bumps, I can't wait to hear more from what these guys come up with. And if my band was to play a show with these guys in the near future, I would be beyond thrilled. Once again, be sure to catch them on Friday, April 15th at The Brighton Bar in Long Branch, NJ! 

If you like what you've read so far, be sure to check them out on FacebookTwitter and Instagram: @ashestooranges.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read about Ashes To Oranges. Have a great night, enjoy the weekend, and I'll be back to writing soon.

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