Recently, a PR firm from LA gave Really Late Reviews (courtesy our brilliant editor, Jordan Hickman!) the opportunity to listen to up-and-coming bands, and provide our feedback on their music. I volunteered to help in the reviews as I am always looking to broaden my musical tastes beyond the same 90s/pop/oldies songs blasting through my Pandora stations.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw the band’s name is Cable Car. I made a deliberate choice to not read the press release about the band until after I listened to the tunes, so I wouldn’t be biased. The first thing I thought of when I heard the band name- whose members consist of Nathan Mott on vocals, Jack Turner on guitar, and Ryan Murphy on the drums- was The Fray. The latter has a similar titled song (also known as “Over My Head”). Given this association, part of me expected that band would also sound similar. Instead, after listening to the band’s debut EP Ride – consisting of five tracks- I couldn’t pinpoint one particular band or musician for comparison point. Rather, I would say the band encompasses ecliptic styles. Each track is different from the other, with vocals in similar styles ranging from Justin Timberlake to Maroon Five to Jack Johnson.
The predominant instruments in Ride are the drums and guitar, but the band varies their use by making them softer sounding in some tracks and more upbeat in others. The album didn’t get stuck on one combination. “Two Time Love,” felt like a 90s pop song and had memorable vocals, but “It’s You,” felt more soothing, relied more on the instrumentals, and almost like a song I would hear in a an indie, hipster movie like “Juno.” While I can praise the instrumentals on the album overall, “You’re Killing Me” tended to have a little bit too many instrumentals in the background to the point where it clashed with the voices.
My favorite songs on the album were “Songs that Groove” and “Wait For You.” The former is a catchy, playful tune and made me imagine my driving on a road in my hypothetical Porsche, with the roof open, sun shining, and the wind blowing in my hair. In contrast, “Wait for Me” is a little darker, and reminded me of the background music in westerns. I liked that the song starts off mysterious like (great use of the guitar to instill this emotion), and then throws the listener off during the chorus by having a techno/alternative rock feel (made me think of Nirvana for some reason). I also thought the drummer did a great job of emulating the sound of a maraca.
Overall, the band has great potential for success. I look forward to seeing what other songs they produce that will continue to have unexpected, but pleasurable, experience for listeners.