By Ibn-Umar Abbasparker of Indie Band Guru
There’s no shortage of bands today trying to do “the cool thing” by being flashy and adding gratuitous sounds to their music.
Music Band isn’t one of those bands. Their concerns lay with crafting songs that are true and honest to themselves. In their debut album Wake Up Laughing, the group displays a holistic rock sound that’s simple and pleasing to the ears. No tricks, no frivolities, and no unnecessary filler noise. Just pure rock n’ roll.
Music Band — Funny Name, No Joke
Music Band consists of three best friends from Nashville, Tennessee: guitarist/vocalist Harry Kagan, bassist Duncan Shea, and drummer Lee Putney. They are a recent addition to the music scene, having only formed in the early 2010s.
After signing with independent label Infinity Cat Recordings, they recorded and released their first cassette Can I Live in 2014. Following this, the trio released a 7” single “I Was Like” that same year. Now, after two years of recording, Music Band is ready to showcase their definitive rock sound with the release of Wake Up Laughing, their first, but surely not their last, album.
The album’s opening track, “Day Stealer” focuses on a classic topic: a shameless jezebel that has cheated on her man and wronged him. The theme emerges from the concise lyrics in the chorus: “Day Stealer got no light to shine / She’s all I ever wanted if all I ever wanted was a lie.” The bass and drums combine to form a pulsing, catchy rhythm that’s instantly memorable.
Also worth noting are the mellow guitar riffs that capture listeners’ ears with their bluesy undertones. There’s a short yet plangent guitar solo between 1:50 and 2:10. The most stellar aspect of this song are Kagan’s plaintive vocals that best convey its wistful tone.
“Don’t Call upon Me” is very animated. To start, it has a brisk, rapid tempo. Putney dishes out booming, heavy drumbeats and loud cymbal crashes. This contrasts with the uniform bass lines played by Shea throughout the song.
Meanwhile, Kagan unleashes a series of spirited guitar riffs that adds to its already ebullient energy. During one part, between 1:28 and 2:14, the guitar and bass riffs become entangled within each other and form a nice, layered sound. The song ends with a hollowing fade-out loaded with reverb.
Then, there’s “Money.” It opens with some dissonant noise before settling down. From 0:20 to 1:50, the rhythm consists solely of ride cymbal taps and a steady bass line. After that, the drumbeats enter and make the rhythm livelier.
Throughout the song, Kagan delivers several varied and expressive riffs from his guitar. With simple, contemplative lyrics such as “I feel okay / I got some money but I am afraid / because money makes you lazy” sang through his soulful voice, it’s clear to see what the song’s central focus is.
Another pensive song is “Keep Living.” The song comes in two parts. First, from 0:00 to 2:37, the tempo is slow and paced. At around 2:38, it changes to a more rapid tempo. The tempo shift adds a much needed dose of power to the piece. After this point, the drumbeats are more vigorous while the bass and guitar lines become more dynamic and driving.
The two parts of this song serve as a reflection about life. While it may be full of obstacles and challenges, you just have to keep toughing it out to overcome each trial with steely perseverance.
In short, Wake Up Laughing is Music Band’s announcement of good, clean-cut rock music to those who are desperately in search of it.