Basics: Well, looks like it's back to some more old guy garage rock for this week's YAFI. Thankfully, these rock bands with decidedly older members know a goddamn thing or two about recording good music, and The Unlucky 8s are no exception. Their sound is self-described as "flavored with dashes of garage and power-pop and the kind of heart-on-their-sleeve lyrics that will haunt you late at night."
I've been doing YAFI for some time now, but I've yet lose sleep over a lyric that I've heard. Well, maybe a lyric or two from Pride of the Garage's Dan Miles -- but those didn't necessarily make me lose sleep as much as lose some of my sanity.
Best Song: The fifth and final track on the EP, "Hasten My Surrender," proves that yours truly should never judge a book by its cover. I had a faint idea about the 8s before I ever heard any of their music, and seeing a song title like "Hasten My Surrender" made me cringe with overwrought emotional corniness. Any and all doubts I had about the song, however, were quickly put to rest once I heard it. Lead singer Dale Ingram's vocals bear quite a resemblance to Face to Face's Trever Keith with their faint rasp and calm-yet-brash demeanor. Ingram can most definitely hold it down with his vocals, helping prove my YAFI theory that a subpar band with a talented lead singer can actually sound pretty good, whereas a good band with a terrible lead singer sounds like absolute shit. The Unlucky 8s are a pretty good band with a very solid lead singer. Thank God. (In the interest of full disclosure: One of Up On The Sun's occasional freelancers dated a member of the band and that's her dog on the cover.)
Worst Song: Those great vocals of Ingram are unfortunately muffled on the second track "Streetlight Sigh." The song's chorus just does not do the band any justice with Ingram's noticeably higher pitched vocals. As well, the lyric "I heard a dose of thunder and wondered why / Sad enough to make a streetlight sigh" is undeniably corny. And here I thought "Hasten My Surrender" would be the song to have all the cornball lyrics. It's interesting to see the band explore their somewhat softer side, but when the rocking, garage-y side is so good, why even bother?
Suggestions: More Ed Masley backup vocals, please. I'll go ahead and note that it's... interesting that the longtime Arizona Republic music writer is affiliated with The Unlucky 8s. Bob Hoag also helped produce this EP, so it's safe to say the band has a few good things going for them.
Bonus: The very same dog from the cover of the EP -- a one Chico Hombre -- has his own Facebook page. Check it out for yourself.
If you're a musician from the Phoenix metro area and would like to have your music reviewed in You Asked For It (our first-come, first-served and often harsh record review column) please send it in an envelope marked "YAFI" to:
Michael Lopez You Asked For It c/o Phoenix New Times 1201 E. Jefferson Street Phoenix, AZ 85034