Debut albums are an important milestone for every artist and band in the music world. For many artists, the release of a debut LP is a moment full of pride and fruition. It’s also the chance to make a stellar first impression and take that crucial first step to success. Alternative rock sextet A Boy Named John hopes to accomplish this and much more with their recently released debut album So We Live / So We Die.
A Boy Named John — Small Town Band with Big Musical Ambitions
A Boy Named John hails from the town of Parsippany, New Jersey. The group consists of vocalist Christian Singh, guitarists Josh Lustig and Jack Lips, bassist Nick Spillert, keyboardist/guitarist Paul Singh, and drummer Dean Mulligan. In 2014, they self-released their well-received debut EP Or So It Seems. Since then, they have toured extensively throughout the East Coast, performing at famed venues such as Webster Hall, Starland Ballroom, and Asbury Park, NJ’s The Stone Pony. This past June, the group self-released So We Live / So We Die, their first full-length album. Along with that, they will be on tour again this summer.
One notable track off of the album is “Sir Rock.” It opens with a chugging rhythm formed from Mulligan’s lively drumbeats and Spillert’s resonant bassline. Bouncing on top of them are driving guitar riffs that provide additional doses of vibrancy. After the 1:10 mark, the song shifts to a more ruminative mood. The tempo slows down, the drums become softer, the bassline gets deeper, and the guitar riffs become brooding and darkish. All the while, Singh delivers earnest, stentorian vocals. Past the two-minute mark, the song returns to its originally energetic mood. It later concludes with sustained piano chords before fading away.
The next track, “Please Excuse The Acronym,” begins with the background noise of sirens, machine guns, and helicopters. After a quick crescendo, thunderous drum beats and keyboard riffs emerge from the noise. They are then joined by slashing guitar riffs and chopping, throbbing bass riffs. As the song continues, Singh dishes out strong, ebullient vocals. Past 2:08, the guitar riffs fade and a brief breakdown occurs. Once it ends, the guitar riffs re-enter along with piano riffs from Singh. With their addition, the song becomes even more enthusiastic and remains so until its end.
That same energy carries over into “Lost In The Haze.” Here, expressive guitar riffs from Lustig and Lips are layered over pounding drumbeats and bass riffs. Wedged between them are sonorous piano chords and emotive vocals that give this piece a dramatic aura. Contrasting this is the more placid “Gentlemen,” with its use of melodic keyboard riffs, mellow guitar riffs, pulsing bass riffs, and soft, tempered drums. Past 1:50, striking guitar riffs enter and highlight the subtle tumult expressed by the lyrics and Singh’s wailing vocals.
Lastly, there’s “Don’t Kill The Messenger.” Most of this song consists of serene guitar riffs interlaced with sobering piano melodies. Meanwhile, soothing vocals flow over the harmonious blend of sounds like a gentle zephyr blowing through a field. Past 2:22, a spirited trumpet solo emerges and delivers a dose of vigor to the song. It later ends with a restful fade-out.
With their animated debut release So We Live / So We Die, A Boy Named John presents an honest yet puissant collection of songs for listeners to enjoy and experience.