By Ryan Smith
Scene, a band quite on the verge of big things, have been busy since the last time I wrote about them in our parent publication, Wave Maker Magazine. To recap, Scene was formed at the end of 2012 in London, England and set out intent on blurring the lines between modern dance and pop rock. The band features Tallulah and Sam Bardens (who are in fact descended from prog royalty), both covering the lead vocals, with Sam also playing keys, Aaron Brown, on guitar, and Alessandro Sallis, providing all manner of electronic accompaniments.
At the time of my first coverage, I was thrilled at how the band had blended traditional elements (the soulful vocals and near classical acoustic guitar playing) with modern electronic glitch to produce an oddly mesmerising dichotomy. The band released a blessedly unique and utterly infectious first single “Hear No Lies” and made their live debut last June. Finally, after what has felt like a very long quiet time, the band is ready to release their debut effort.
To promote the release of said debut (an EP it appears), Scene have released a new single, “Close to the Edge,” (not to be confused with Yes’ side-long title track) and have unleashed a built-in preview of tracks appearing on the soon-to-be-released record. You can check this out via YouTube, Soundcloud, or on the band’s website at www.sceneband.com. If you’re still not convinced, allow me to take you on the tour.
First off, let’s take a look at “Close to the Edge.” While it begins an intentionally glitchy mess, the single quickly shifts into a slow and smooth electronics-inflected slow jam. Tallulah’s soulful verses give way to a mellow, yet oddly anthemic, chorus lead by Sam’s soothingly detached vocals. Also of note is the track’s spastic electro rhythm and that it is of course laced with Brown’s wonderfully natural sounding guitar. We’re above and beyond riff-riff-riff, solo, riff-riff. It’s a great track that is similar enough to what I’ve been listening to on repeat with “Hear No Lies” to have me recognise the sound as Scene’s own, but is also something quite different. All-in-all a great track and worth the time it takes to head on over to the website and grab the free download.
A quick walk-through of the tunes previewed on the site: “Something’s Happening” is a spacey kind of anthem with crowd participation written all over it. The airy electric guitars snagged my ears. “What’s In My Head” is my favourite of the lot. Tallulah sounds magnificent. Absolutely gorgeous vocals. She is backed by a dark and eclectic electronic landscape that thrills me in ways that only the truest of art does. “Big Love” is larger than life and definitely single material. It reminds me of Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time” or “Steam,” had he written them for his Up album.
By the time “Dreaming” comes up, I’m blown away by how different all of the tunes sound from each other. They still have that distinct Scene sound, but each track sees the band challenging themselves with new musical environments. This one plays out almost like an Emily Haines loon, brilliantly… well… dreamy. Not that it is in any way a rip-off, but I can almost hear Emily singing over top of this. Sam carries this one along insanely well with some great, androgynous lead vocals.
With what I’ve heard of the band both prior to and including this greatly appreciated teaser, I can honestly say that Scene’s debut EP is my most anticipated record of 2014. Trust me, that’s saying something, there’s a bloody Yes album coming out this year! Do yourself a favour and head over to Scene’s official website, check out the preview, and download some great free music. These gentlemen and lady are brewing up something incredible and I can’t wait!
RYAN SMITH spends a great deal of his time under troll bridges shaking his fist and hollering obscenities at the mainstream, but occasionally finds himself on the side of a pop act that the underground has disowned. A schizoid fan for the 21st century? Although he has a diverse musical taste that runs the gamut from black metal to country to most forms of jazz, Ryan’s first love will always be progressive music.