Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Noise By Numbers- High On Drama

While I have nothing but admiration for all architects of pop punk, Dan Vapid is one who not only caught my interest from the very start but has retained it in spades to this very day. This is due to the many solid bands he's fronted/been a part of ever since I knew who he was and the fact that he possesses the capability to seamlessly incorporate different genres into his presence as a songwriter, each time producing a sound that's unique. A perfect example of this happened in late 2009. I was very excited to find out what a newer band fronted by him was all about when I first heard their debut LP, "Yeah, Whatever...". There was this great foundation of 90's melodic punk rock in the songs but they stood out to me for the added touches of alternative rock and sometimes even going into just an atmospheric realm. This newly created entity called Noise By Numbers gained my appreciation fast and the quality of their work only evolved from there through a couple splits, then one more full length release before things fell silent for them shortly after up until most recently! An announcement made last November that there would be an EP of previously recorded material coming out had me totally surprised so I saved the date and waited. That wait is finally over, which makes me very happy so here I am to tell you about "High On Drama"!

The songs were recorded in late 2011 by Jeff Dean and Jon Drew at Million Yen Studios in Chicago. Mixing was done by Jon Drew in Toronto who producer credits also go to along with Noise By Numbers. This is the same team that made up the recording process for "Over Leavitt" and the sound is once again fantastic. The cover art is simple, yet aesthetically pleasing featuring their well known logo against a varied shades of blue background painted by Ashley Fairley who's talents I've been a fan of for the past year. The layout was handled by Rick Uncapher. Digital release already happened on January 20th, courtesy of Jump Start Records. That can be found on iTunes or the label's bandcamp where it's also streaming in full but the good news for all members in the church of vinyl is: Yes! It will be available by the end of this month on either translucent blue or mixed split color. Can't wait to see and own those!

The first and title track "High On Drama" has been streaming ever since the release announcement was made, so I have of course already been in love with it since then. It never ceases to amaze me how powerful this band always is in the first moments of hearing new material from them. The arrangements are intricate and beautifully formed but never overdone and then there's Dan in the front to complete the process with his wonderful voice. The title essentially gives way to the lyrical content and it's a great result! That one song was enough convincing for me to swiftly make my way over to iTunes and download the EP. Previews should always have that effect! After grabbing my headphones, I settled in to hear the rest of the tracks and immediately loved what I heard with the under two and a half minute, hook heavy track two, "Are You Still My Enemy?". It kinda really reminds me of a Sludgeworth song almost with the way it's sang, sounds, and is a fine display of that melodic punk rock they execute so well. Both "Southgate House" that also made an appearance on their split with The Magnificent and "Town Of Hamburg" are two excellent narrative style songs. It's always cool to see a place through someones words and these were well done! Following next is a brilliant cover of The Lemonheads "Rudderless" and it is a perfect example of why I place Dan in the same category as someone like Joey Ramone as a vocalist. While many artists adapt to a cover, vocalists like him make the song adapt to them and that is what makes one worthy of including alongside original material. I had multiple reasons to love this EP as it was, but the last song "Make Up Your Heart" expands the list. This one has a really nice intro that builds to the verse, giving room for an awesome bassline from Rick to stand out and I like the way everything else threads around it. Lovely way to finish things out!

Noise By Numbers is a band that won my heart so quickly and I was nothing short of joyful to hear a little more from them. Not much more to say here other than go stream those songs and stay tuned to their facebook page for details about the LP! "High On Drama" is something I think will make a great addition to anyone's collection and is taking a spot in my best of 2015 already without a second thought. 

Noise By Numbers is...
Dan Schafer- Vocals and Guitar 
Jeff Dean- Guitar 
Rick Uncapher- Bass
Jimmy Lucido- Drums

All songs written by Noise By Numbers except for "Rudderless" by Evan Dando.

1. High On Drama 
2. Are You Still My Enemy?
3. Southgate House
4. Town Of Hamburg 
5. Rudderless 
6. Make Up Your Heart

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