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UK rock band Fades sets high bar with cohesive, confident sounds on debut EP

First single 'Breaking Through the Walls' an optimistic, attention grabbing track

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On their new single “Breaking Through the Walls” and overall on their soon-to-be-released EP, the U.K-based rock band Fades creates a sound that absorbs your attention in a way that not many up-and-coming bands can replicate.

So how do they do it? For one, the lead singer, one Joshua Woo, has a unique voice you can hear a high level of confidence in on every track. He knows how to sing and sing well. Sometimes you can hear bits of Axl Rose in his inflection, other times you might hear faint Bon Jovi influences in there, as well, but at no point does Fades replicate those famous rockers’ sound.

Aside from the solid vocals, the band’s instrumental mix reaches an optimal enjoyment level. No matter what song you might be hearing, it sounds like a well-produced singular unit. The guitar riffs soar when they need to, the vocals direct the ship when called on, and the rhythm section keeps everything on time and in control while adding the right flavor to the songs at the same time.

“Breaking Through The Walls” is an upbeat, bad-ass track that best exhibits what makes these guys a talented band. Woo shows off his vocal range, lead guitarist Lucas Mendes’ guitar bits make the loud parts explode and the quiet bits settle nicely.

The lyrics “I’m on my way, this time, I’m breaking through the walls” signify a sense of honest optimism that you don’t often hear a lot in rock music. While it may be a bit vague, yes, it still works because each part in the song contributes equally and it’s coming from talented folks who are working in their element.

The video fits the song well and takes a simple idea, jamming with their instruments in a moving van” and explores that idea to it’s fitting conclusion. At one point they show the guys just chilling in the van and then switch to them playing their instruments. That to me signifies the idea that sometimes when you’re struggling with tough issues in life, things can change for the better when you get together with your crew. That’s a cool idea and one that makes me like the song that much more.

I actually was surprised to find out that when their self-titled EP drops on March 11 it will be their first record they’ve produced. They sound like an accomplished band that’s recorded dozens of records already.

Another can’t-miss track on the album “I’ve Been Away Too Long” is a tad bit slower, but definitely not a ballad. In that way it shows to me that these guys have the ability to switch gears and show how they have the ability to adjust their speed and flow carefully.

In contrast, the song “Everybody Knows” clearly takes cues from Kid A-era Radiohead. It can come across as quite a jarring switch in tone from their other songs, as a result. While I don’t think it works as well as the other tracks, I appreciate the risk they took with it.

Overall, if I were looking for something to offer in terms of constructive criticism, I’d mention how none of the songs lyrical depth, as I hinted above, have much depth to them.

On one hand you can make the case that they don’t need to be, or that’s not the type of music they’re looking to create, but, nonetheless, more often than not the lyrics have a lot of sizzle without much steak. Perhaps as they continue to evolve and make more music, they’ll evolve that part of their formula, which, if we’re being honest here, is probably the most difficult aspect to perfect. Part of the reason Bob Dylan became so revered is because of his lyrical prowess and deep meanings to most of his songs.

In the end, if you’re looking for a band that has a lot of talent, a rich aural texture and a willingness to try different things. These guys’ strengths are especially strong, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them explode on the music scene in the near future.

For more on Fades, find them on Facebook and Twitter. 

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