The Sound Is Fine: The Sound Is Fine
In a recent article from NPR’s critically acclaimed music blog All Songs Considered, it was argued whether the once concrete definition of what it means to be an ‘indie’ or ‘indie rock’ act was still intact.
It’s a multi-faceted argument for sure, but between the bleak statistics of the DIY scene in terms of revenue success and longevity as a product of this, and the bevy of labels that are simply subsidiaries of corporate giants claiming to be independent music beacons, it’s all become something similar to a kick between the eyes. While this sad truth does exist, there is always a counter-argument for hope. Enter The Sound Is Fine.
Comprised of two sets of brothers—Reed and Skylar Adler, and Evan and Colin Campbell—The
Sound is Fine’s self-titled EP is a fresh reminder that modern rock music is far from gone. After seeing so many great acts crumble under the weight of the DIY process, it’s great to see four guys from New Jersey writing honest and meaningful music. And considering that the quartet tracked, produced, and mixed the entire thing on their own, this album is certainly a testament to the DIY recording process.
“Very much a DIY effort, but it just so happens we have a professional engineer in our band,” guitarist Reed Adler explains. “As for writing, these six songs are a mixture of old and new, but we felt they all worked together well. Evan is the one responsible for the basis of the song, and he brings us the idea and we fill in the blanks, or restructure it based on what feels best as a full band. For example, “Running in Squares” started as a straight acoustic ballad. By the time we were done with it, we had what you hear on the album.”
Adler’s words speak volumes about the band’s uncompromised sound, which emanates from cover to cover. The opening track, “Big Dream Kid,” begins with vocalist Evan Campbell barking alone: “It started off with a bang,” to then be joined by the rest of the band with Bond-like swagger. The song’s lyrical focus seems to revolve around getting caught up in a big scary world, and as Campbell continues to cry out his warning to the naïve masses, the musical composition follows suit with fuzz-laden guitar riffs and thoughtful, precise drumming. The six-song EP is packed with songs that take the listener by surprise with simple tempo changes, such as “Wrong Time To Look Good,” and “Rapture In Queens.” As a whole, the album doesn’t make any effort to trade in the band’s signature style, either, holding tightly to their mighty vocals, addictive guitar work, carefully implemented bass lines, and deliberate drumming.
This debut record makes a compelling argument in favor of self-produced albums. Most musicians, many being perfectionists in their own right, might consider it a daunting task to be the voice that decides what sounds good and what doesn’t, but The Sound Is Fine is clearly up to the challenge as they push an uncompromising wedge between the stigma about what it means to be a DIY band and reality. This self-produced EP is a short-fused example of raw, in-your-face talent that supplies the future of independent rock bands an extremely hopeful outlook.
This review first appeared in Issue Four