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Album: The Blackout Effect: s/t|
Street Date: 2005
Reviewed by: Torrey
Rock driven mainstream pop music that comes from the heart and doesn't disappoint. This describes The Blackout Effect's addictive debut self-titled album on Lava Records due to hit retail shelves in July of 2005. You may recognize the band's front-man, Alex Seier, from his prior endeavors 'Project 67', a band that sold out 1,000 seat venues in the middle of Amish Country, and 'Metro Drive'. The album was produced by Josh Abraham, who has taken such artists under his wing as Velvet Revolver, Staind and Michelle Branch. The Blackout Effect's first single "Close" hit radio on March 14 and the band has since been recognized by MTV's "You Heard It First". And might we add, it's about time MTV celebrates real emerging talent!
1. Won't Be Around - Simply put, this song is about leaving your problems in the past, starting fresh, and learning from your mistakes. It starts off with acoustic guitar intro. Once the full band cuts in, Alex's unique energetic vocals drive the song straight through to the end. It also includes great instrumental solos/riffs by the band. What a great song to start an album with.
2. Settledown - This song is about falling in love too quickly and trying to move too fast in a relationship. It begins slowly with Alex's vocals backed by guitar, fooling you into thinking it will be a ballad. Once the full band comes in, it becomes a full blown mainstream pop rock song that
3. From Here - Starts off with full band instrumentals which then drops down into a slower beat before being it back up during the chorus. The song itself has a rich commercial pop-rock sound, somewhat remenicent of popular pop-rock bands such as Finger Eleven and Revis. Lyrically and vocally this song is very solid.
4. Close - One's only complaint about this album might be that this song was chosen as the first single. There are many other songs on this album that leave the listener wanting to hear more, whereas this song doesn't really have that "jump out and grab you" effect that a first single needs. With that small amount of criticism aside, this is still a great song.
5. Hear Me Now - This song touches on something everyone has, or unfortunately will have to deal with at some point in their life. And that is the death of a loved one. In this case, the song is about the passing of Alex's paternal grandfather, but the song is not so specific that it can't apply to other situations dealing with this subject. Usually songs about such a sad occurrence are ballads that tend to be depressingly slow and drawn out. This song is just the opposite. If you don't actually sit and listen to the lyrics, you wouldn't guess that the song is sad at all. This song is excellently done. Seier took a depressing point in his life and turned it into an energetic, uplifting song that anyone would want to jam along to. This song is my personal favorite on the album, and has been my favorite since I first heard it on the Metro Drive album. It would be a sin if this song does not become a single somewhere down the road. Don't be surprised if you find yourself listening to this song (or entire album for that matter) over and over again. Cue the repeat button!
6. Waste My Time - Here's another song that is definitely single material. This song is about not wanting to wait in the shadows while someone you love leaves you for another person. A review of this song doesn't even begin to do it justice. I caught myself about to rant and rave about how amazing this song is, and instead decided to say just one thing. And that is, if you listen to only one song on the album, make it this one, because we guarantee you won't be able to stop there! Unfortunately, I'm finding it hard to move on to the review of the next song...I can't stop listening to this one!
7. All That I Need - The instrumentals for All That I Need are a mosh-pit jam session waiting to happen. The song begins with a heavy electric guitar riff, and the rest of the band kicks in soon after with a fast paced tempo. The beat will definitely have you moving. The vocals and lyrics kind of get lost behind the music, but that's okay as the instrumentals are more than powerful enough to carry the song.
8. Take It Away. - Alex co-wrote this song with Dean DeLeo of the Stone Temple Pilots. Alex tries a different vocal style here which compliments the lyrics nicely. The instrumentals are upbeat and established well throughout the song, especially the guitar riffs. Another plesant song, borderline single material for some Alt. Rock stations.
9. My Loss - The album slows down initially in the verses here, but not for long. By the time the chorus hits, the instrumentals are back to their upbeat pace used for most of the album. Ok vocals and lyrics make for an overall solid song, but not one that sticks out as one of the album's best.
10. Eleven 23 - My first impression of this song was "Third Eye Blind" because the instrumentals reminded me of the type of music Third Eye Blind used for many of their radio hits. Instrumentally the song is a slower-mid tempo that works very well. Alex delivers great vocal work here with some thoughtful lyrics to make an awesome song. I think Eleven 23 is a key song for this album, as Blackout Effect has already shown their prowess to rock the house with upbeat tunes and this song shows they can slow it down and be just as effective, if not better.
11. Farewell Song - A second slower song to end the album. The title "Farewell Song" fits the tempo of the song perfectly. You could close your eyes and just listen to the music, and see why it is called Farewell Song. There is a sweet instrumental break at 1:30, with a nice bridge thrown in later as well. As is the theme for seemingly the entire album, this is another song which would make a good potential single.
Overall: One of the great points to be made about this album is that almost anyone can relate to the songs in one way or another. Each song comes from Seier's personal experiences and they communicate emotions that everyone has felt in their lives. Every song on the album was written exclusively by Alex Seier with the exception of 'Take It Away'. Most debut albums that gain any sort of popularity are lucky to have more than a few songs that are co-written by the band/artist. Seier certainly knows the formula for writing great mainstream music. The instrumentals blow you away throughout the entire album and Seier's vocals are equally incredible. If this is the first time you've heard about The Blackout Effect, we guarantee it won't be the last!
For more information on The Blackout Effect and to listen to the songs reviewed here, please visit www.theblackouteffect.com and don't forget to purchase the album this summer!
Special and sincere thanks goes out to Debra Herman at Red Light Management for making this early review of the album possible. Thank you for supporting our effort in recognizing emerging talent.