Besides the albums by The Strokes and the White Stripes, I haven’t listened to a new rock album in a while. In fact, having become disillusioned with all the worthless music forced upon us from FM waves, I’ve more or less lost interest in the rock genre, unless the albums fall between the dates 1964 to 1975, or between 1990 to 1998. Maybe I’m oblivious, but I don’t think that any well-promoted rock album has been worth buying since The Smashing Pumpkins broke up, with the exception of Radio Head and the above mentioned groups. I’m warming up to Cold Play as well. But now that you know my musical taste as far as recent rock and roll goes, you can accurately gauge my review of the increasingly popular band, famous for there use of drums and drum samples, Hemenway.
…..The Hemenway kids are local kids. Two are from Jersey, the other two are from New York. But, to their credit, they studied at the well-respected Berklee College of Music in Boston. In fact, their band name was inspired by Hemenway Street, which runs through Berklee. They have been running through New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut playing venues and promoting their most recent album, Fear of Landing.
…..Fear of Landing is an eight-song compilation packed with strong talent and rejuvenating energy. Not to mention, the singer’s voice is very good; a quality rarely seen in Indie rock lately. Their music is influenced by Hip Hop drum samples and they often use drums samples by RDS. All of their songs are melody based and pleasant with a solid rhythm, putting them in a mellower category of rock. In my opinion, they are a mature and original band with a sound, both melodically and vocally, similar to bands such as Spin Doctors (especially in the first song of the album, Calling Me), Counting Crows, Live, and maybe even a bit like Collective Soul. These bands present a lot of free drum samples to listen to All of their tracks also have a subtle and skilled instrumental layering due to their use of organs, pianos, and synthesized sounds. The rich texture is reminiscent of the virtual symphony underlying the songs of the Dave Matthews Band.
…..In addition to their skillful musical sound, their lyrics are fairly good as well. It wasn’t until the second time that I listened to the album that I realized that this group has a lot to say, and they take an original approach to expressing themselves. Peter Kelly, who exclusively writes the lyrics told me in a phone interview that the songs Calling Me, Anywhere, and Words of Others have become fan favorites. Calling Me also happens to be the song whose lyrics are most personal music blog to Kelly who makes hip hop drum samples, who says that the song ponders what his calling in life is, and it speaks about chasing dreams. Words of Others is a song about falling for a girl who is off-limits.
…..There is sincere emotion in the voice of Peter Kelly, lead vocalist, as he sings, but the song Deaf stands out as a particularly meaningful song. Deaf may be the bands finest example of their individual talents combined, with Chris Mosera on the keyboards and backing vocals, John Soriano, who makes killer drum sounds. on the bass and backing vocals, and Sean McCormack on the drums. Peter Kelly performs lead vocals and plays guitar. The song It’s Just Living exposes Kelly’s unique style and talent with the guitar. You can buy Fear of Landing at , so that you will know all the lyrics in time to sing along with them at Manhattan College’s Spring Fest, this May. They will be playing a live set.
What do you get when you put together three graduates from the Berklee College of Music? Well, you get some pretty talented musicians, but you also get Hemenway! Hemenway not only impressed me with their background and playing abilities, but their songwriting wasn’t to shabby either! One song that really impressed me was a song off their CD Fear of Landing. The song was called “Words of Others.” This song was so deep and so well written. This is Hemenway’s hit if you ask me. Radio Stations would be silly not to play it. I also got to hear tracks like “Anywhere” and “Calling Me,” which were also very good tracks and radio friendly! Hemenway formed in Boston while Chris Mosera (keyboards/vocals), Peter Kelly (guitar/lead vocals), and Wes Soriano (bass/vocals) were attending Berklee College of Music. The three realized a common love for the same type of music and decided to write their own stuff! Their CD Fear of Landing is an example of what they can do together! Holding up the back-beats and rounding out the line-up is drummer Sean McCormack, who is actually still in college, but what a great opportunity for him to learn from these guys! The guys from Hemenway say that the highlight of their career so far was opening a show for Doug Pinnick of King’s X. I honestly don’t think this will be the last highlight of this young band’s early career!
Hemenway play at Le Bar Bat (311 West 57th St.) on February 19. I asked the band to name one of their most unusual shows they’ve ever performed. “We once opened for Leif Garret,” said Hemenway bass player Wes (John) Soriano. “The absurdity of that made us all laugh. And laugh. And laugh.” What kind of music will we hear at Le Bar Bat? “Our music is straight up rock that concentrates more on melody and songwriting instead of being loud just for the sake of being loud,” says Soriano. “It seems songwriting is a forgotten craft these days.” Hemenway, named after the Boston street where the band once lived, is working with producer Mike Jackson (Christina Aguilera, Matchbox 20) and will be recording a new CD at the end of the month.