All You Want
All You Want is available at:
4th December, 2015
Rock; Pop; Alternative
THE past week or so has seen quite a fair few…
Acts come to my attention. From established and ambitious young stars to those just coming through; all different genres and styles have made it my way- from various parts of the world. What I always love- when it comes to assessing new music- is discovering how (a band or act) formed and where they came from. A lot of times- in the case of Noah Clouds and Kelsy Karter- I get to an act that is already established with a mass of social media followers. In some cases the artists is just coming through with scant online fan-base (This Modern Hope) but shows immense passion and potential. Before I get to my featured act, there are a few points that have struck my thoughts. In addition to new British bands I wanted to look at variety in bands- in terms of gender and sound- in addition to the importance of originality. Having Shaydes make their way into the sun, I have been fascinated to see the guys rise and campaign. Their name and reputation is starting to gain momentum; All You Want is their opening gambit that throws a gauntlet down to their fellow acts. In a lot of my reviews I get to feature bands and always look at the same themes: the state of the band market in music. A lot of my dissatisfaction seems from the predictable and cliché sounds/line-up. Most modern bands do not push the envelope or really offer that many surprises. When it comes to British acts, there is still a reliance on Alternative and Rock sounds. The likes of Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkey and Royal Blood are stuck too closely to. Musicians see a band doing well and amassing critical acclaim and then get a thought: if we sound exactly like them then surely we will get popularity too?! Unfortunately a lot of music fans are fueling this thought and it is casing so many sound-alike and unoriginal acts. If you are going to come into the music world then why would you want to sound exactly like someone else? We have cover bands and tribute acts that do this; there is no need for new music to be filled with replicates and insipid acts. When it comes to critical attentions and demand, the bands are the most favoured and anticipated. For that reason- and if you want to get your name at festivals and prestigious gigs- you need to come up with something new and unexpected. I love Rock, Alternative and harder sounds as much as anything- some of the greatest bands/albums have been made in these genres- but there comes a point when there is stagnation and a lack of innovation. Although I have heard some great bands this year- that play the heavier side of things- there have been a fair few that simply do not linger in the memory. Unless you are mining golden riffs, emphatic vocals and addictive tracks you are unlikely to remain the consciousness for too long. Britain is not the only culpable nation when it comes to this oversite: the U.S. and Canada are producing quite a few acts that have no originality, passion and distinction. If 2016 is going to foster a prosperous band wave, then more new acts need to come out with their own voice and dip back into music. Given the sheer depth and amount of music that has come before- from the early Blues masters to the Rap/Hip-Hop revival in early-‘00s (The Streets, Dizzee Rascal etc.)- there is so much sonic possibility and variety available. It is no wonder the ‘90s is still revered and celebrated- a time when music’s bands were at their peak- to more should look back and follow the examples. It is all well having your all-male, guitar-wielding acts; music seeks something more interesting with great possibilities. For that reason, I have been thinking about bands and genders. There is not such a gender inequality and (too much) sexism in music yet the band market needs a kick in the butt. There are still too many all-male bands around- they must account for a good 90% of all acts- with a few all-female acts. When you want originality, depth and variation then it makes sense to mix the boys and girls? With Shaydes having a female lead, you get vocal and emotional variation; a clear kinship between the members- something an all-male band would lack. It may not sound like a vital thing but we need to welcome more mixed-gender bands onto the scene. This year the likes of False Advertising have stunned me; not just because of the music they provide but the relationship between their members. With a female-led vocal- backed by two chaps on instrumentation duties- there is a lot more colour, distinction and nuance to the sounds. There is still that idea- when it comes to girls in bands- that music’s women either go solo (or a duo) or form a girl band. It is a stereotype that needs eradicating. There are so many great female-led bands out there; the media tends to overlook them somewhat- concerning themselves with the tried-and-tested male four/five-piece. Before I continue on this point- bludgeoning it to the point of murder- let me introduce my featured act:
“Shaydes brings you beautiful, powerful songs that will gladden your heart and lighten your mood, sympathise with your sadness and lift you to greater heights, make you smile and keep you happy. New songs are in the process of being recorded and will be published here soon.
Shaydes is the new band of established singer/songwriter Marisa Rodriguez, who has brought together an accomplished group of fellow musicians with a love of making music that moves you.
Featuring James Dixon on guitar, Andy Watt on Bass, Rob McGregor on drums, Heather Westgate-Bell on backing vocals and a host of other talented guest musicians”.
I mention gender and gender-mix in bands for two good reasons. For a start a female voice up front- with boys backing her- means you get the best of both worlds. Your compositions can be harder and powerful whilst the vocal sounds different. Female vocalists tend to be more effortless when it comes to Soul and Pop vocals. Shaydes are a band that I have been following since their conception. With Marisa Rodriguez up front, you have a singer with a hugely powerful voice: one that can reach soulful stratosphere to intimate femininity; it is an instrument that is effortless in a variety of genres and scenarios. Surpassing and bettering her male counterparts, Rodriguez’s voice is a breath of fresh air when it comes to bands. Knowing Marisa for a while now- following her solo work through her other incarnations (the band Easy Tiger) – I know what a talent and passion she possesses. Backed by a wonderful and multi-talented band, you have a new act that stray from clichés and provide something unique, original and hugely memorable. Shaydes do not simply play vague Pop or predictable Alternative sounds. On the basis of their debut single- and predicting a new E.P. in 2016- here is an act that has a radio-friendly sound whilst retaining a gritty edge and a sound that few other acts can match. All You Want is a bold statement from a group that has worked hard to come together and get their music made. I predict 2016 will see the group go onto big things- an E.P. or album followed by some important gig dates- so make sure you follow them close and see where they are headed.
When it comes to assessing the development is a hard to task: Shaydes are just starting fresh and making their first moves into the music world. The band’s members (Rodriguez especially) has had a busy music past; this is the first outing for Shaydes. All You Want is their declaration and initial statement that showcases huge confidence and quality. If you are fresh to the band then you might be intrigued to see who influences them. Whilst a wholly original and fresh acts, other artists have compelled and inspired them and their music. Rival Sons and Paramore are two bands that have been important to the guys. The U.S.-based rockers come out a little in All You Want. When hearing Rodriguez’s vocals stretch, infuse and sparkle, I am reminded of the two bands (particularly Paramore) whilst the composition has a huge amount of force and power. Rival Sons mix elements of Deep Purple, The White Stripes and Led Zeppelin-esque power chords. Shaydes have a semblance of this in their single- there are definite moments of ‘70s Progressive-Rock with Garage-Rock and U.S.-inspired Alternative- but they use this as a jumping-off to bigger and bolder things. Shaydes expand these templates and infuse something more soulful and emotive into their music. Supporting their lead’s multi-emotion and stunning voice; the boys create a composition with huge depth, nuance and emotional wallop. I know Shaydes have also been influenced by everyone from Skunk Anansie and Radiohead- two acts you would not normally see together- retaining a British sensibility to their music. Whilst these acts are a good guide- if you are uncertain about investigating Shaydes- they do not seep too heavily into the sounds of Shaydes. What the Reading-based band does is incorporate elements of each- bridging ‘90s and ‘00s bands into something contemporary and modern- and come up with their dynamic and sound. Knowing what a voice Rodriguez has- able to be seductive and soulful; rampant and sensual- there seem to be limitless possibilities for the group. All You Want has passion and heaviness to it without being too intense and angered. It is a controlled and stunning track from a band that want to make immediate impressions. With their influences in mind- and given the possibilities they have with regards vocals and compositions- I can see Shaydes being a very varied and multi-genre proposition. Perhaps they will come up with more emotive and introspective numbers; something upbeat and soulful- a catchy number that never escapes the mind- or go into Electronica arenas. That is the beauty of the band: they have the ability to sound genuine in whatever genre/area they see fit. All You Want is the perfect starting place for a band that have plenty more to say.
The opening notes of All You Want are dedicated to atmospheric and a building mood. At once edgy and tense, the composition opens up into a brief rush. If anything, I am reminded of Radiohead and their work throughout In Rainbows. That blend of tense electronics and accessible purity is distilled into the initial seconds of Shaydes’ debut single. The percussion is firm and wave-riding- creating an emotional lift and peculiar charm- that perfectly highlights our heroine’s voice. The initial words are delivered with beauty and a breathless passion. “Dream of when we’re not asleep” is intriguing words that have your mind split. In addition to the clever wordplay, you wonder whether a relationship is being ascribed. That opening line sticks in the mind and is an impressive lyric. That oblique and mysterious sentiment gets the mind working and curious as what is to come next. Our heroine (and her man) are “shallow ‘til we’re in too deep”. Again it is a delightful bit of wordplay that tops the opening line for intelligence and originality. You get the impressions a relationship has reached its straining-point and there is no way around things. Our heroine’s voice is at its most affected and tender in these stages. Making sure it drips with emotion, soul and power; those words come to life and bring about some vivid images. It seems this bond is going through a test; perhaps there are some issues that can’t be resolved. It appears the duo never really connected or had real conversations until they were in love. By time the relationship started to show cracks; that is when honesty and true feelings came to the surface. Maybe I am over-reaching but it seems like things are more ideal and perfect in the imagination. That ‘dream romance’ is desired rather than the reality of the situation. Maybe there was passion and love to begin; it seems there are too many cracks to fix. The boy is squandering chances and being a fool. Our heroine knows her boy doesn’t know what he’s up against- the tensions start to raise and the mood becomes a little closeted and tight. Backing our heroine is a composition that remains firm and melodic. The percussion, strings and bass support and propel the vocal whilst eliciting plenty of colour, life and memorability. You can sense that an explosion is imminent. Before that crack of life comes through; you cannot help but be impressed by the resonance and effect of that vocal. With a huskiness and chocolate-like smoothness to it; Rodriguez has one of those voices that can do anything it needs to. Stretching notes and syllables to great effect; she seems effortless and completely commanding. With such a stunning and original voice- there are little tinges of others but she has such a distinct tone- you get immersed in the song and its convictions. As the lyrics become tense and accusatory, the composition matches the foreground. The guitar fizzes into life- eliciting a nifty and sharp riff that adds electricity to the track- whilst the percussion becomes firmer and more muscular. Guided by some supple and tight basslines and the song kicks up a gear- going from Soul/Pop beginnings to U.S. Rock/Alternative (Paramore etc.) hardness. It seems a game is being played and there is a lot of anger and recrimination in the heroine’s charge. Not knowing “what you’re waiting for”; she is not going to take this anymore. Showcasing huge passion, strength and emancipated purpose; that stunning vocal builds to near-climax force- ensuring each word comes vividly to life. When the chorus does hit you get a nice mixture of British Soul/Pop and U.S. Alternative sounds. This will not only appeal to a wide range of listeners- and make All You Want popular and translatable in the U.S. – but it ensures there is a perfect balance of vocal and compositional sounds. At this stage there is some openness- the quality of the lyrics means there is room for interpretation- and your mind strays from purely-love avenues. In a sense you could tie the lyrics to the music industry and its struggles. Music is a love and deep passion- for those who understand its potential- and you could interpret some of the words differently. As our heroine talks about game-playing and needing fulfillment; frustration at not being fully recongised and respected- maybe a touch of anger at the state/nature of the ‘music business’. Our heroine has given all she can and is not sure what the hero is waiting for. Perhaps here is a love with two different ideals and expectations: she has given all of herself whilst her man has given nothing. As you dig down to the meanings and truth of the lyrics; that band-vocal combination keeps coming to the fore. The composition has a relentless energy and chug that adds vigour and intensity to things. Never over-exerting or wandering; it is a tight and emotive composition that perfectly soundtracks the lyrics. Whilst the track has a contemporary and radio-friendly vibe- it could be played on B.B.C. Radio 2 and appeal to older listeners- there is edginess and attitude to it that could see it spun on underground stations; appealing to a much younger audience. This wide-ranging personality makes All You Want a track filled with nuance, potential and force. It seems the lovers will “burn down to the ground”- like a candle flame burnt down to the wick- it seems that the purity, beauty and idealism of the bond has exploded- whilst a need for wholeness and rebirth are desired. Having to step back into the world and rebuild her soul; our heroine’s voice is at its most tremulous and heartbroken. When the vocals are backed and layered- emphasising and augmenting that sense of dislocation and loss- the compositions remains supportive and light. Was the composition heavy and hard and the emotions might be distilled: as it is, you have a perfect balance from a band that has spent a lot of time crafting the song. The next time the chorus arrives it seems more relevant, urgent and determined. The vocal always sounds empowered and gripping no matter what is being attested. The song’s defining mantra comes in the form of the words “you only have yourself to blame”. This seems to be the motto and real truth of the matter. Whilst scant detail is given as to the whys and whats of the breakdown- whether there was another woman or a lack of sensitivity- it seems like the hero is at fault. Maybe there were chances and real promises with the relationship that he failed to see. Supported by tumbling percussion and sprite strings; that home-truths accusation is repeated to great effect- as the song’s images, storyline and progression becomes clearer and more fascinating. The final moments are dedicated to that chorus coming back to ride and strike. At its most urgent and exhilarating; our heroine’s voice explodes with power and intensity- enforcing those words and letting her soul bear its anger and pain. By the final notes you wonder what became of the lovers in the end. One suspects the relationship is beyond repair although the circumstances behind its erosion remain an unanswered question. What All You Want does is assesses a very common and overplayed theme- relationship breaking down; one party to blame- and gives it a new spin.
It is always challenging releasing a first single that deals with relationship breakdown and the aftereffects. It is one of music’s most over-represented and predictable subjects- after a while you have heard it all and are offered few surprises. Shaydes have come in with a song that does not remind you of another; giving worn and familiar scenes a new lease and different perspective; All You Want is a brave and bold track that will appeal to a lot of listeners. Most of us can relate to the tribulations and scenes the song portrays. One of the most impressive things about the song is how there are no weak moments; everything hangs together perfectly. The band performance sounds loose yet tight. You can imagine this is a live recording- it is has that sort of sound and feel to it- although you can tell hard work, detail and honing has gone into it. The production on the song is faultless which allows the vocal to be clearly understood yet it never overpowers the composition. All the instrumentation and notes and wonderful mixed and blended which means the song is as rounded and effective as it could be. Whilst the band sound completely natural and assured, it is that lead vocal that leaves the biggest impressions. Marisa Rodriguez has been performing and singing for years so it is no surprise she has such an accomplished, confident and beautiful voice. Lesser singers would not be able to give All You Want the life, passion and power it requires yet Rodriguez sounds completely entranced by the material. The voice would not be as stunning and strong were it not for the drive and intuition of the composition. The lyrics mix hugely intelligent and unique insight- the wordplay in the opening moments is deeply impressive- with universal sentiments and something more ordinary. It is that blend of accessible and personal that means the song will be taken to heart by all. It is not a track that pushes people away or appeals to a certain sector. A ubiquitous and memorable debut effort; ensure you follow Shaydes and their plight. A band that sounded like they are meant to be together, I would not be surprised to hear more new material follow very shortly. You can hear the passion and fun they are having making music. Congratulations to the Reading band for creating a track that could well be receiving some prestigious airplay.
It is wonderful hearing a group that understand the importance of doing things differently and coming up with something original. If there were another British all-male Alternative band- who think mimicking Arctic Monkeys is the way to get success- then my shoulders would shrug slightly. What we have is the antithesis to all of that. I know what a stunning vocalist Marisa Rodriguez is. From her cover versions and early originals, I was witness to a young singer with a phenomenal range and an unforgettable sense of emotion, passion and determination. Whilst her solo career impressed me hugely, she sounds at ease and at her most fulfilled here. This is not just her show- far from it in fact- backed by a stunningly accomplished and tight-knit band. Dixon’s guitar work mixes subtly and hypnotic moments; it gives the music an urgency and sense of calm- often within the same line- and is the perfect support to the vocal. Watt’s bass guides and pushes the music forward; showing authority and plenty of melody into the bargain. Westgate-Bell’s backing vocals melt with Rodriguez’s to create something lush, beautiful and hugely energetic. Demetrius’ sturdy percussion (he plays on the single) gives the music punch, heart and a primacy that few other acts are able to summon. Shaydes mix such richness and variegation into their sounds- classical threads and wonderfully assured musicians- to create music that is destined for the big stages. Before I wrap up it is worth addressing All You Want, the future of the band; towing back to the original themes of the review. Shaydes are already performing small gigs around the south at the moment. I know Rodriguez keeps busy with live music nights and performing; the Shaydes guys are starting their careers and excited by what is to come. It may be debut single-days at the moment but the signs are already extremely promising and bright. Few bands explode out of the blocks with such confidence, assuredness and quality. There are no nerves or weaker moments on All You Want. From the very first notes you get the impression of a band that have been performing together for years- rather than a matter of weeks/months. The music sounds like it has been perfected and honed over weeks whilst retaining a looseness and effortlessness too. That is a hard trick to pull off- whether All You Want was created that way- but it something that will gain them a huge amount of respect. Their social media numbers are starting to climb at the moment; there are a few things they are working on- their official website is being reconstructed; it would be good to see them on SoundCloud and YouTube- but they are handling the pressures of musical expectation very well. Sound anxiety-free and in love with music, ensure you check out a terrific young band. I know how hard each member has worked with regards to this point; there is such an affinity and mutual respect between the members. You can tell how close they are and how much they like one another. This ease and passion come through in the music which is starting to gain waves. I think 2016 will be a banner year for them. In addition to conquering new venues- let’s hope they are invited to London to play and further afield- I am sure there will be new music and plans afoot. British bands and new music has too many offerings that do not stray from the pack and offer anything new and insightful. Aside from the sway of boring Alternative bands, there are a few great acts poking though. For band music to thrive and inspire in 2016 we need to start embracing those with originality and a purpose. Unfortunately the media tends to focus on bands that have radio-play appeal and festival potential- in other words, bands that sound like established acts- and miss out on some truly worthy artists. There is so much potential to make a difference in music and inspire young musicians coming through. By having a female lead (if you are a male-heavy band) or vice versa, you are already giving yourself more options and variation. When it comes to the central sounds, you do not need to be rigid and do Rock/Alternative-only sounds- push your sights and mix in other strands and ideas. Maybe I am being harsh but I am a little tired of the insipid and idea-less acts who seem to plague the scene. Shaydes are an act that has no desire to sound like anyone else; they are ambitious and original- these traits will set them in good stead. Make sure you pick up All You Want and discover a young act with a lot more to say. The early days are always the most important and nervous- it signals whether a band could float or sink- and there is no fear when it comes to the Reading group. There is so much passion, authority and tightness within All You Want, you can see them conquering rarified heights and gaining huge momentum. Follow them, support the music and above all, discover an act…
PRIMED for a fantastic 2016.