FOUR TRACK BREAKDOWN:
Self Titled by 1776
When you think of the birthplace of great pacific northwest musical acts typically a couple cities come to mind, namely Seattle and Portland which is why a band as musically talented as 1776 coming out of a city like Longview is so bizarre. This 4 piece psychedelic rock outfit comprised of Nigel Lederwood(vocals, guitar), Chris Cook(guitar), Zach Whitton(bass), and Mitchell Ruppe(drums) surely look as out of place as they sound in their hometown, with the wardrobe of The Strokes and the hair of The MC5. But aesthetics aside, the music is damn good. The band sounds similar to other psychedelic pop-rock outfits such as MGMT, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and The Dandy Warhols but maintains a unique identity thanks in part to Lederwood and Cookâ€™s incredible guitar lines which tend to go in interesting and unexpected directions while still having a strong pop sensibility.
Track 3, â€œWhen You Goâ€, is one of the more pop driven cuts off the record and features some of my favorite guitar work by the band. The song thumps away in a steady 4/4 with a big rock sound that in some ways is almost Boston-esque. The structure is fairly simple with a simple back and forth between a verse and pseudo-chorus. The chorus is more of just and embellishment on the verse section with each time through the chord progression being followed by a very cool 2 bar guitar line. The bigger feel of the chorus-ish section is accentuated with the addition of a gang of falsetto vocals harmonizing the main line and some hand claps in the background which definitely adds some more flavor of 70â€™s arena rock.
Track 4, â€œYour Summit Will Expireâ€, is a haunting number that is somewhat reminiscent of the darker tracks from some of the more blues inspired psychedelic acts such as The Blues Magoos or Vanilla Fudge, laden with ear catching guitar lines that lead the listener from chord change to chord change. The eerie blues feel of the song is complimented with the addition of a reverb heavy organ that follows guitar line pretty closely throughout the track, punching the chords on the back beat and then walking up and down the melody lines laid down by the guitar.
Track 9, â€œNeverâ€, is a brilliant country influenced song that really shows off the range of the band and lends a nice diversity to the album. It still manages to maintain a subtle rock and roll edge with the help of a touch of light distortion on the electric guitars and Lederwoods vocal timbre which has a Conor Oberst like meekness to it. The lead guitar work is once again phenomenal with classic country lines that seek to mimic the kind of sounds you would hear on a steel guitar.
Track 6, â€œI Wonâ€™t Be Your Preyâ€, is without a doubt one of the most straight up rock and roll tracks on the album. The song starts with a distorted bass line chugging away in quarter notes that reminds me a lot of the bass riff from Golden Earringâ€™s â€œRadar Loveâ€. Lederwood sings a bit more attitude on this track with a nice subtle rasp to his voice that fits well with the garage rock vibe of the track which is complimented by Ruppeâ€™s drum line where you can hear a bit of the strain to keep up with the fast tempo of the tune during the snare fills that gives it that perfect â€œrough around the edgesâ€ garage rock sound.
1776â€™s debut album is out now and I would highly recommend it for fans of all of the aforementioned bands as well as fans of any blues and psychedelic heavy rock and roll. You can stream the entire thing as well as purchase a copy on their website as well as on iTunes. Although they do not currently have any shows booked because they are recording, check their shows page often to see if they add any dates near you.