Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Up From the Underground: Rock Masters Band's "Hit the City"/ "Diamonds" single

Rock Masters Band have nothing to with the Rock Band video game, instead they are a super group of sorts from Finland. The Finnish are no strangers to rock. Finland is in the  the Scandinavian trifecta more known for metal, but with the amount of drinking they do it has made rock music is one of Finland's biggest exports. An impressive array of rock bands hailing from their shores  Nightwish, H.I.M,  Apocalyptica, Rapture, Lordi, and our favorites  Beast Milk.  They are more upbeat and lack to the gloom of the countries other exports.

The Helsinki based band formed in 2007 and features members from the bands Species and Spiha. They already have a couple of albums under their belt, are taking an approach becoming increasingly popular with artists who are faced with the Pirate Bay generation, recording a song or two at a time. In the case of Rock Masters they are using this to serve them creatively. Bringing in a fresh batch of musicians to back them and different producer with each session, to explore other perspectives to approaching their songs and discovering new sounds.

The singer's more T-rex like tenor owes more to their country men in Hanoi Rocks that the  glam fixation some of Finland’s other exports like H.I.M, and 69 Eyes have taken in more melodramatic direction, making this sound rather stripped down in comparison. This is not to say the song is not heavily layered by guitar, some take a more casual Stones saunter others blaze out soloing with their foot on the monitor. The second song is much heavier. The vocals flex their elastic pipes on the chorus. From a song writing perspective it's wham bam thank you mam, the songs are both three and a half minutes , but it's a fine testament to their song writing prowess that they are able to marry both memorable melodies.

Rock Masters occupies a unique place in today’s musical landscape that has been vacant for some time. They are not the first band to touch on wave of post-David Bowie British Glam that came out of England in the 70s, they are just the only ones currently having a go at it. Bands in the 90’s ranging from Space Hog to Shudder to Think brushed shoulders with the sound left in the wake of Marc Bolan. Artists more often swing for the fences and attempt to use Pro-tools to achieve the grandiose layers that Queen was able to pull of without the benefit of such studio tricks, but Rock Masters goes for a much more stripped down and organic sound. 

From the more Rolling Stones like swagger of "Hit the City" to the more gaudy androgyny of "Diamonds" the band doesn't really wear their influences on their sleeves as they have been assimilated into the DNA of a sound that is familiar , yet very much their own. This is not retro stoner rock, but a celebration of rock n roll no matter the era they are paying tribute to. You are drawn in. Despite the chorus to "Diamonds" having a hook that digs a little deeper into you than "Hit the City", but both songs are worth checking out below if you are a fan of 70s glam along the lines of T-Rex, Mott the Hoople and Sweet.

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