If someone were to ask me to describe San Jose's, The English Language, I'd say there are things that are obvious about the band, and there are things that aren't. The obvious aspects would be their love of 60s rock 'n' roll, and their desire to pay homage to the sonic style of said era. The not so obvious would include their uncanny ability to take those sounds and weave an entirely original tapestry; one that not only inspires a likeness to the era, but showcases their ability to exploit the piquant flair for the finer, more bizarre points, therein. The 13-track set on The English Language's self-titled debut album is a testament to that ability.
And it's just great music.
The English Language does little to conceal their influences. Members Kyle Langlois(vocals, guitar), Tristan Perotti (vocals, bass) and Mark Danley (drums) have come into their own. Starting as a straight cover band, the trio went about their music as a master would - mimicking the classics for years before starting their own compositions. The years of listening, imitating and incessant gigging have paid off, as The English Language's first release is nothing less than masterful.
Langlois comments on the band's name and operations.
"The most fantastic thing about Rock & Roll is that it can encompass nearly any style of music while retaining its basis: American blues . . . Rock & Roll is the Western world's (and probably the entire world's) most popular genre of music while English is the Western world's most popular language. Both evolving from American cultural influences. . . from a pop-culture perspective, Rock & Roll is to music what English is to language. Rock & Roll is a mash-up of various other musical styles while English is a mash-up of various other languages . . . This album, a collection of the first 13 songs we've ever recorded together, is an almost entirely DIY project mostly recorded on a laptop in the living room, bedroom or kitchen of either a 1898 Victorian house, a dental facility-turned apartment, or a cabin in the woods."
The subtle comedy encased in a rock, candy-coating, ala Ray Davies, the tinge of George Harrison-influenced rockabilly, the trippy surf-rock/Spaghetti Western swagger are all appropriately dished-out through the album's entirety. Songs like "Can You Dig Your Man" and "Man With No Name," with captivating riffs and vocal lines, will follow you around like a drunken puppy that just won't keep out of the way. "The Devil I Know" incorporates flavors from The Doors and Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles, while "It's Gonna Be Bad" and "You're Going to Fall in Love" have an undeniable surf rock smell. "The Tiny Pill I Take" and "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On You Here" delve into the darker side of things; a bit macabre with a sprinkling of paranoia, and a truckload of pop-sensibilities.
Langlois looks to the future.
"Recordings are the tangible pieces of art which showcase our love of music and sound. Rock & Roll has always been about developing different approaches to recording and we'd like to continue this work.
Right now we are trying to generate an interest in our approach to music so that we can make some proper recordings, upgrade equipment, generate a fan base and play more gigs/tour."
Few songs run beyond the three-minute mark, in a stunning act of musical brevity, and the from the album's first moments, the onslaught of strong songwriting, production tricks, and utterly head-clouding ardour makes The English Language's debut a 'can't miss' among anyone who claims a penchant for rock music.
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