CD REVIEW: Evan Hammer - Bright Day for a Frog Rebellion
By Cyrus Rhodes - 01/18/2010 - 01:40 AM EST
Artist: Evan Hammer
Album: Bright Day for a Frog Rebellion
Genre: Progressive Rock/Jam band
Sounds Like: Tripped out Beatles, Doors, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Technical Grade: 7/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Commercial Value: 7/10
Overall Talent Level: 7/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 8/10
Best Songs: Bright Day, Hello Love, A Barren Blue
Weakness: Unorthodox 5 singer, 10 piece band line-up. Short play format
New York based Evan Hammer (bassist) releases his debut CD “Bright Day for a Frog Rebellion” in 2007. The title reveals a lot of creativity and unpredictability – would the music live up to its psychedelic title.
Logging in at just over 36 minutes the CD kicks off with “Bright Day” complete with slithering intro, passionate vocal build, and a barrage of musical peaks and valleys. Track 2 “Harold called this Morning” kicks things into high gear with solid garage rock beat, emotionally charged harmonies, and addictive vocal melodies. Track 3 “Martin Kane’s Magic Kandy Kanes” provides a dark psychedelic British Rock groove with an impressive musical sound-scape reminiscent of a very trippy Beatles. The songs themselves are addictive, unique, and pocketed full of mystery. No doubt some of the meanings of these songs are buried deep. This brilliant creativity extends well into the abstract lyrical content which will take some time to fully pin down. Just when you think you got this CD figured out Track 6 “Little Girl” launches it's upbeat rockability groove. The musicianship of this 5 piece is solid. The players themselves write, and play there parts well.From acoustic statements - “Hello Love” to songs that showcase a more British Rock Vibe “Martin Kane’s Magic Kandy Manes” and “Rascal and a Bum” this CD is very entertaining. There’s even a touch of Ska on “Lunatics Down”. You may notice a grand total of 5 different singers showcased on this CD, with 10 players in it's line-up. Ariel is my favorite singer on the CD. There are far to many creative time changes to count, and it’s hard to predict what's around the next corner. I recommend you just sit back and let the music take you where it takes you. The CD end with Track 10: “A Barren Blue" – A powerful, emotionally changed end statement that doesn’t hesitate to let it all hang out. When this ride is over you will get off saying - I’m not sure what that was all about, bet let’s do it again sometime.
Though interesting and full of variety I’m not crazy about the 5 singer, or 10 piece band line-up. I mean I fully realize this this is a subjective art form, but the above approach is extremely unorthodox. It's an approach that is a bit all over the place. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a 10 piece rock band with 5 different singers in it. Also the 38 minute production feels a bit short and incomplete. I really wish it had 3 or 4 more songs on it.
Overall this release from Evan Hammer is an impressive freshman release. Its strong suit is its rich variety, creativity, and amazing unpredictability. Another amazing aspect to this music is the emotional depth delivered via the vocals. This emotional charged “vocal mojo” is off the charts, and despite all this it manages to remain somewhat comical and upbeat. “Bright Day for a Frog Rebellion” is best served on days you want to kill a few innocent brain cells. It will also keep you entertained, guessing, and looking over your shoulder the entire time. Being nearly 3 years past it’s release, I look forward to hearing newer material from Evan Hammer and company soon.
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