Thursday, April 8, 2010

Review: Evan Bliss "ShhhPOW"

Former frontman for reggae rock group The Low Life, Evan Bliss has struck out on his own now to create "ShhhPOW". He has largely abandoned the reggae for his first solo outing in favor of contemporary pop rock.

But to pigeon hole Evan Bliss into the pop rock category would be a bit misleading. He dabbles in a multitude of musical genres and he and his band have the instrumental chops to do this effectively. There are bits of classic rock, some blue eyed soul, jazz, funk, and even a splash of ho-down (the band aptly describes their music as an "international rock buffet"). What emerges from this hodgepodge of styles is a trademark sound that has a surprisingly energetic quality that makes you want to dance. You could say that "ShhhPOW" sounds like the record Adam Levine would make if he went solo from Maroon 5.

Just a few seconds into the electrifying opening track, "Love Is A Dancefloor" you'll hear why. The beat goes on with another great track to groove and reflect on called "Fleiss", a power ballad about damaged relationships that features some of the most heartfelt vocal moments Bliss delivers. "Passerby" begins with the classic 50s rock beat that the Stray Cats revived in the 80s, and then launches into a signature Evan Bliss chorus. "Awake" is a grand ballad done in the finest Coldplay tradition, possessing a chorus that you'll be humming for days. True to its essay title, "On Love and Life", is a brutally honest meditation on relationships; combined with its breezy, "c'est la vie" atmosphere, this track is a real winner for me. A final highlight is the peppy "Parachutes and Ladders" - it is a little hard to keep up with the rapid-fire vocals on this one, but it is fun trying!

Currently they are best known on the East coast, but Evan Bliss is poised to dish out their buffet sound across the country. Bliss is a genuine vocal talent, a budding songwriter, and has recruited some top notch players. Check them out if you like Maroon 5, New Radicals, or Robbie Williams.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 11

Evan Bliss on MySpace. Official site.

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