Music Review – Comin’ Around – Elvis Monroe

Posted: September 20, 2012 in Music & Related

The members of Elvis Monroe – singer Bryan Hopkins, guitarist Ben Carey, drummer Ryan MacMillan, and bassist Matt Nelson – are no strangers to writing or recording great music.  Individually, they have contributed to more albums than I care to count, many of which met with great commercial success.  As a group though, the band has spent the last year pooling their talent.  The initial result is a six-song EP calledComin’ Around.

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I’m not a big fan of genres – I don’t like to pigeon-hole creative works – and Comin’ Around doesn’t fit neatly into any one category, anyway.  Call it pop, rock, singer-songwriter, alternative, or melodic rock – whatever you call it, it’s good music.

All six of the songs on the EP are true gems, not only when compared to the noise that comprises most of radio these days but in their own right as well.  It’s hard to choose a stand out, because they are all stand outs.

The opening track, Black Clouds, is a post-relationship song that manages not to wallow in despair.  It’s a catchy, up-tempo song with a beat you can’t help moving to and guitar riffs that echo in your head long after the song is over.  The lyrics also offer a bit of hope and perspective right from the get-go: “Somewhere there’s a light on.  Somewhere there’s a meaning for all this – pain and bliss.”

The second track, Green Light, is another up-tempo tune.  This one captures the thrill of that first moment when you meet someone and sparks fly but also the point where a relationship hits a roadblock and you fight to get it back on track.  All this with a danceable beat.

The EP slows down a bit on the third track, Comin’ Around.  This is one of the two most emotional songs on the EP.  The pain of loss and the hope for better days are almost palpable.  The lyrics, vocals, and music all carry the emotion, compounding the effect until it seeps into every pore of your being.

Track four, Rewind, picks up the pace again.  It’s another catchy song, but it’s also much more than that.  The lyrics are meaningful as well as memorable, and it’s those and the guitar that really stand out on this song.  I’m not a musician, so I don’t have the proper terms for what’s going on with the guitar in this song, but I can say it’s one of my favorite bits of guitar work.  Period.

Track five, Leave Me, is easily the most emotional track on the EP.  The song opens with acoustic guitar, and within the five seconds, it’s set the tone for the story the lyrics tell.  Add the drums and bass, and it’s enough to give you chills.  Add Bryan Hopkins’s powerful, emotional vocals, and you’ll find a lump in your throat.  With the lyrics thrown in, you just might find yourself with tears in your eyes or an ache in your chest.  If not, you may need to get yourself to a doctor to see if you have a heart – or to a priest to see if you have a soul.  The song ends without a flourish or much warning, and I find this to be a stroke of genius, an echo of the lack of closure that comes with the sudden end of a relationship.

The closing track, Beautiful End, is aptly named.  It’s a beautiful song, sad but hopeful.  The song’s strength is in its simplicity, its raw, stripped-down presentation.  It’s the perfect song to round out a great collection of music.

Elvis Monroe, with the help of producer Jay Ruston (and, if I’m not mistaken, various co-writers), has put together an amazing debut EP that showcases both the writing and musical talents of the group’s members.  It’s an excellent first offering and I can only imagine great things ahead for both the band and its fans.
What:   Comin’ Around EP

Who:    Elvis Monroe

When:   released 9/8/2012

Where: Amazon and iTunes

http://www.amazon.com/Comin-Around/dp/B0098WYYDU/ref=sr_shvl_album_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347436937&sr=301-1

http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/comin-around-ep/id561063783?uo=4″ target=”itunes_store”>Comin’ Around – EP – Elvis Monroe

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