Act Thirt33n - Salute And Smile
Act Thirt33n are a young upstart hailing from Georgia, US of A. Salute and Smile is their debut EP and has been out for some months now. The word "young" in my previous sentence is no metaphor for inexperience; despite the entire band still being in high school, there is a long history of music with each member that takes most of the EP's 5 tracks to unexpected heights. The style is fairly straightforward power pop, bordering at times on various other genres but has an overall feel that seems to fit a niche that has grown to vast proportions over the past decade or so. Emotive, inspiring, solid production and chemically in flux with one another, Act Thirt33n offer more promise than amazement but still manage to stick.
"Shine" is a fitting introduction to the band, an upbeat, catchy track that a band can hang it's hat on and utilize to make a lasting impression. The duality of vocals are sometimes a highlight and sometimes a hinderance throughout the EP, but they help drive this track home. Lead vocalist Andy Morgan is an obvious choice for the position; his sense of melody and timing adds a professional tone to what can sometimes come off as an amateur affair. And that's no slight; it's to be expected in the early stages of almost any musical entity. "Sic 'em, Boys!" has far more edge, some slightly off-putting screaming intertwined with some excellent guitar leads and stand-out percussion work. It doesn't stick like "Shine" sticks, but it leaves a mark all the same. "Rabbit" seems a bit unsure of what it wants to be; the edge to the music doesn't necessarily match the heartfelt and pensive nature of the lyrics or the vocal approach. If any of these tracks misses it's mark, it may be this, despite the line "home is not a question of disguises" being the one I remembered long after the EP was over. "December Thieves" is my favorite track here, it's pacing and tempered emotion effortlessly pulsing with a maturity and creativity far beyond expectations. The discordance occasionally set forth only lends impact through variation, a daring choice where a simple, continuous melody may have sufficed and certainly would have represented the easy road. "Last Breath" is a stripped-bare acoustic anthem, something that I actually could have seen myself putting together as a teenager. It represents that personal, tormenting deluge of emotion that can only form from one's first love. The longing, endless limits of the promise of having that one special someone, it all translates smoothly and without any sort of heavy-handed forcefulness that would have otherwised killed the most vital aspect of any love song; honesty.
Promise is the keyword to take with you if you do decide to explore Salute and Smile. Promise not only of bigger and better things to come, but promise of revitalizing a blend of music that has stagnated so very much in recent times. Youthful exuberance, passion and commitment to what is obviously a major collective inspiration for these 4 young musicians; it all shines through refreshingly on every track. As the band hones their creativity further, learns what works best and what works better sparingly, the promise of the future will continue to be brighter and brighter for Act Thirt33n.
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