Expanding the limits of music has always been a mantra for progressive rock bands. Even bands who aren’t technically “progressive” still expand upon the generic three-minute pop song format. The Beatles (specifically the Sgt. Pepper album), Pink Floyd, Rush,The Who, and many others from the 60s and 70s weren’t afraid to go beyond typical pop songs by adding longer instrumental sections, more complex arrangements, and sounds/phrasing found in other styles of music. Many rock bands today try to adhere to the 3:30 pop format but there are still others who follow the lead of these classic bands with progressive song ideas. The New York City based band Super Gravity takes these progressive concepts and blends them with a classic sound and vibe on their new EP “Symmetry”.
The five song EP has a very classic sound to it. Vocalist and guitarist Adam Cane has a sound and quality reminiscent of Liam Gallagher (singer from Oasis) and other British front men. Even his guitar tones sound like guitars out of a Who album: tasteful warm distortion with a hint of ballsy-ness. Bassist Steve Sklar plays very interesting bass lines throughout the record but never goes overboard. His phrasing is brings back memories of old prog bands such as Yes and Rush. The drums surprisingly add a modern feel to the EP. Drummer Rob Machold adds grooves, fills, and energy that juxtaposes with the classic vibe the guitars and bass provide.
The EP kicks off with “Stalemate”, a mid-tempo rock tune that goes through different vibes in the same song: groovy main riff, open upbeat verses, bouncy upbeat syncopated pre-choruses, and darker choruses. The next track “See Through” is a little darker, going through a dark descending riff and transforms into a more modern chorus. “Fleeting” is reminiscent of big open mid-tempo songs from bands like Oasis, Coldplay, etc. “Bail” picks up the tempo a bit and transforms into a barrage of guitar frenzy towards the end of the song. Finally, the EP ends with “Reculse”, which is a groove-oriented track most reminiscent of a song from the Who. The extended guitar solos with solid bass & drum grooves really make the song shine.
The instrumentation on the EP is excellent overall, showing a bit of complexity and depth in the music and in the players themselves. Unfortunately, the weakest part of the EP is the album’s production. The performances aren’t very tight with each other, the vocals are out of tune at times, and there is an absence of dynamics throughout the entire EP. Aside from these technical glitches, the album definitely has its strengths: catchy vocals (Adam has a great sounding voice), excellent musicianship, and a classic sound. If the production of the album were tightened a bit then the songs would come across to the listener stronger. This just means that the potential and true form of the band must be seen live because the fundamentals of songwriting are present and only technology gets in the way.
Super Gravity is a band to look out for in the near future. With the release of the EP the band plans to tour constantly and bring thrill to their live show with improvisation. It’s refreshing to see bands take these risks and do things differently from other standard pop/rock songs. The band manages to take a classic sound yet remain true to themselves and make an EP that is stylistically something of their own.