Damian’s first review of the year, and he’s impressed
Play To The Gallery are a sort of steampunk postpunk kind of project, who perform original music and theatrics and hail from Saginaw, Michigan.
They were formed in 2016 by expanding the power trio dedicated to high-volume, lo-fi rock and shenanigans called i am Sunday to a five-piece outfit with a couple of additional musicians.
The band comprise the Sunday`s Steve Warrington II (drums), Kurt Schade (bass) and Matt Hill (guitar) with Chris Lewis (vocals) and Abbey Gradowski (Keys)
The opening track “Riot” starts quietly with just a lazily strummed guitar, a symbol being clinked and a voice enunciating something meaningful down a megaphone, then the fun starts with a voice which really reminded me of Elvis Aaron Presley sweetly singing and then belting out `It`s a Riot, coming from the sky, it`s a Riot that burns your eyes` at the chorus. I really loved the churning bass and catchy melody of this ditty. An excellent introduction.
Next up is “Kitchen” and it`s a mid-paced catchy number which will have you shouting out `Hey Hey Hey` while you are nodding your head and tapping you foot to this cracker of a tune, Again the honied dulcet tones of singer Chris, will have your ears being nicely caressed.
“She`s Fine” is a nice melodic song which has some lovely grungy riffs at times and some sweet harmonies throughout.
A quirky offering comes in the shape of “Latchkey Kids”, intricate wordplay with some lovely harmonies again with Abbey`s vocals complimenting Chris. It reminded me of bands such as The Presidents Of The USA, Mr Bungle and Primus but much more accessible.
The track “What It Seems” is a more heavier rock out, with great harmonies and some quite profound lyrics. Just when you think you know what to expect, the band take a slight detour and such it is with “Burn” which is a little unnerving. It`s a song where the lyrics are almost spat out or rapped in a nursery rhyme style. The chorus of `Burn` is frighteningly chanted or bellowed and I could imagine flames shooting out as the band perform this number.
“Love Song” is just what it says on the tin an amiable song about love and all that mushy stuff set to a captivating musical backing. Just as appealing is “Liars & Giants” a very stop start tune.
The penultimate song “Fade Away” is a very reflective melancholic piece which gives Chris`s voice a good platform from which he can show his range. There are some nice variances in this song with a cracking guitar solo, piano eddies and great emotive harmonies between Chris and Abbey. “The Darkness” closes out this offering with some dark lyrics set to an interesting musical backdrop. There are some interesting keyboard cuts, strident bass and a funky ambience at times.
This was an interesting album to listen to, quite varied at times but very captivating. It would be very difficult to categorise this band as they have so many influences and wear them on their sleeve. I have to say Chris Lewis is a real find, I really loved this fella`s voice and can see why the Sunday`s decided to evolve the outfit, it`s a slightly different sound and vibe but mesmerising at times. Abbey also adds another dimension with not only the keyboard flavourings throughout but the way her voice blends with Chris on the harmonies. But saying all this you can`t take it away from the powerhouse that is Steve, Kurt and Matt whose musicianship keeps the engine going allowing the band to freely express themselves.
This band certainly know how to play to the gallery.
Rating 9 /10