Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz
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The 88's - The 88's EP |self-released, 2013|
1. Get Me Through, 2. Addiction, 3. Time Was Right, 4. You Gotta Give A Damn, 5. For You, I'll Sing My Song, 6. Pride
The 88s trio which has been playing together since 2009 has an international line-up. The members make music in China, Portugal, France and the US. Joe Mahone brings the hard rock/metal drive through excellent drumming, Pheel Duarte feeds the songs with dynamic vocals, while Luis Coelho enriches The 88's music with Latin guitar influences.
The eponymous EP is their second release (the first one was out in 2011). The tracklist opens with a wavy guitar solo and gives you a foretaste of what to expect. "Get Me Through" has a melodic yet heavy mix, ensuring that you're listening to the work of experienced musicians who know how to skillfully borrow from a few different genres. They utilize Latin music, blues, hard rock and modern metal structures as well. They undoubtedly worked this one out and avoided predictable arrangements.
"Addiction" begins with a heavy and rhythmic mix written for the drums, guitar and vocals. However, this passionate track has also a surprising acoustic side, based on soft melodic arrangements. A professionally played guitar solo influenced by classic rock, as well as guitar parts draw inspiration from Latin music. As an interesting aside you should note that the song is bilingual (English & French).
The 88's seem to be inspired by music of Metallica, Foo Fighters, and System of A Down. "Time Was Right" is a goof proof of this. It’s a heavy track built upon balanced arrangements, neither leaving empty spaces, nor invading your ears with arrogant intensity. The structure is diversified enough to keep your mind engaged, but also repetitive enough to stick to your memory.
A swinging mix of guitars, drums and bass begins "You Gotta Give A Damn", an example of a popular alt-rock theme, which easily fits into prime time airplay. The song is short, melodic, dynamic and instantly memorable. It has spots filled with guitar solos and intensified drumming, with very suitable vocals.
If you like Soundgarden or Nirvana, or just enjoy the grungier vibes, "For You, I'll Sing My Song" is, precisely, for you. The track includes also an interesting part performed by Pier, a guest musician utilizing a Chinese instrument called Erhu. She appears midway through the song and brings more of a world music feel. When it comes to vocals for the track, Pheel Duarte proves clearly that he can adjust his voice to different styles of music.
Now, it's time for a decorative jewel. "Pride" is a huge finish, definitely enriching the whole EP with a big, nostalgic theme. You can clearly imagine the lone guitarist performing on a stage. When he's focused on the instrument, locked in an invisible bubble of the sound, the entire world seems to disappear. There are only three things that matter here: him, the guitar and the music these two make in the limelight. You've heard that same, never changing tune from Santana, Clapton, Led Zeppelin or Queen and you'll hear it again, this time performed by Luis Coelho and The 88's. It's also a great movie track.
All the songs on the tracklists have a definite flow connecting them - whether it’s their rhythm or mood, or the technical skill behind them. Thus, the end of "Pride" interlocks with "Get Me Through" very well and you can listen to the entire EP on repeat.
The album is worth having and the band deserves your support. Their official website and social profiles should give you more insight into The 88's next move.
(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, March 4th, 2014. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)
Buy on: Bandcamp