neilcollinsrecording.com speaks to ’20 Cent Dreams’

Hello and welcome to the 5th blog in the series aimed at getting to know some of the bands in your local music scene and listening to their new releases.

 

In this blog we speak to ’20 Cent Dreams’ whose press release introduces them as follows:

20centIf you are into the likes of Lower Than AtlantisWe Are The OceanDon Broco or even Young Guns then these dudes will be right up your street

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I indeed am into said bands so decided to ask ’20 Cent Dreams’ a few music and not so music related questions

Describe your music in 3 words?

Hmmm.. Youthful, Energetic, Honest.

Favourite local band?

Tough one.. Probably a band called Best of Enemies

Favourite local venue?

Tamesis Dock, where our EP’s being launched. (Boat on the river Thames in London)

Analogue or digital?

Digital

Your take on the live music scene in this country?

Contradictory. So many artists are playing, and there’s more opportunities, but they’re harder to find than in previous years, due to sheer saturation, I’d say.

Cameron or Corbyn?

Corbyn

Your 3 biggest influences and why?

You me At Six, they’re the first band that inspired me to start writing. Radiohead, same reason for Joe. Periphery, prime example of technical mastery and brilliant melodies, a favourite of our drummer Liam

Sell your music to us?

If you like to take in the energy that rock music brings, but enjoy sing along melodies and meaningful lyrics, then we’re for you (how original…). Like if you like the Foo Fighters but can also jam to Bieber’s new stuff.


music review

So I put on their EP ‘Generations’ and pressed play

I always expect EPs to be 4 tracks but there are no rules really, there’s 5 on this one starting with ‘Alive’. Immediately obvious is the alternative rock influence of bands such as ‘Young Guns’ & ‘Malory Knox’ et al as mentioned in the press release. What is somewhat lacking unfortunately is the production side of things. ‘Alive’ is a real punchy intro to the EP but the  guitars sound a bit messy. The vocal is a bit up front for my liking too and could do with sitting back in the mix. Theres a really nice chord progression on the intro and Sams vocal reminds me of Brendon Boyd Urie of Panic At The Disco fame. Theres a really big sounding chorus with nice backing vocals and really nice driving drums. All in all ‘Alive’ is a solid start to the EP and sets the tone of whats to come

‘White Flags’ is a great track but I do feel that again it would benefit from some better mix decisions (please bear in mind as with all my critiques I try to be as honest as possible, they are just my angle on the tracks. Please feel free to disagree, I’d love to hear your thoughts & that’s what the comments box is for underneath!) I feel the chorus would have more impact if the guitars were a bit less full on in the verses. They kind of over ride what is a really nice vocal. I really like how the track builds with the layered vocals and its a well structured and written track, a bit lacking dynamically, but still a great track

check out the video for previous release ‘Dead By Summer’

The third track ‘Beyond reason’ is a nice little interlude for the EP. Theres more of a funky groove to it with a nice simple drum and bass line from Joseph and Liam,. We get the chance to hear Sams strong rock vocal & the guitar solo towards the end of the track shows he really can play, the solos a bit loud for me but its a great solo nonetheless

Fourth track ‘Motion’ is my standout track & reminds me of early ‘Funeral For A Friend’. Its got a really simple alt rock chord structure but that’s what you want when you are making this style of music. I love the double time drums on the verses and straight beat on the chorus, it works really well with this track. Theres also a really nice outro with a bit of glockenspiel on the end (I could be wrong about this but sounds like a glock to me?!)

So we come to last track ‘Hurricane’. It’s predictably that ballad that builds to a crescendo tearing at your emotions as it goes! thats not a bad thing, predictables good sometimes, this is the type of track you’d want at the end of the EP:

“These tired bones,they’ve never been so brittle”

The verses are kept nice and sparse with some nice effected guitars and some subtle echo on the vocal although it does seem to slip out at some points which sounds a bit odd? Theres a really nice violin that comes in as the track builds too & it sounds live but I could be wrong? Then the inevitable end of EP chorus / outro crescendo is upon us. the vocal could do with being ‘dry’ before the outro for more impact but its a nicely crafted climax to the EP

All in all ‘Generations’ is a nice alt rock EP. All the tracks are well constructed and this is clearly a talented band with a lot to offer within this genre. I’d love to see them live as I think this is where they would really shine. As with all my reviews I come at them from the point of view of a listener and an engineer and I do feel there are some production issues on this EP that’s lets it down a bit. Dynamically I think there’s scope to really craft these tracks to give them more punch and impact. Musically though these guys are great, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the EP and I definitely hear a lot of potential, It’s difficult to stand out in the alt rock genre as the very definition of the sound you are trying to achieve leaves you slightly limited but if these 5 tracks are anything to go by I expect to hear more good things from the ’20 Cent Dreams’ camp!

See if you agree, check out the ‘Generations’ EP following the link below:

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Thanks to ’20 Cent Dreams’ for sending me the EP for review, I hope you have found this blog review enjoyable? Please feel free to leave comments below, it would be great to give them & myself some feedback?

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