By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent
Album review: Upright Man’s Upright Man- Release Date August 18, 2017
I receive music to peruse on an everyday basis so if I listen to one video or soundbyte, my attention better be grabbed right away or…next! I listened to Upright Man’s song “Elysia” from their self-titled album Upright Man (release date August 18th) and I thought, “Now, we’re talking!” The song features a heavy guitar sound with a definite 90s alt rock feel and melds into Alice in Chains-like harmonies with plenty of minor chords creating a psych-rock, dreamy tone. Parts of the song feature acoustic rhythm strumming and bass riffs in the vein of Led Zeppelin. Hearing this first song definitely made me want to hear the rest of the album!
The album has elements of grunge, alt rock, psychedelia, but also prog rock undertones without sounding like a copy. The influences are all over the board, even within the same song, as there are many dramatic “slow down” moments and choruses that build into crescendos. Knowing the background of the band members (they met while studying classical music composition at New York University), their academic background in song structure or “movements” is evident.
Since I tend to favor alt rock or psych rock, some of the songs that appealed to me were:
“Agoragnostic” with its dreamy psych rock, Pink Floyd-ish feel, and lush harmonies;
“Say What You Mean”, which is acoustic-guitar driven and a choral counterpoint saying “ Is it what you really want…everybody cares what you think…but nobody cares what you think”;
“Upright Man” with its dirty, heavy distortion guitar riff, a slinky grungy beat, and Alice in Chains vocals appeal;
“Alaska” with its simple guitar and vocals saying, “Got a tattoo that says Alaska but I’ve never been…”and “proggy” feel with the drums and the vocal “woo woos” at the end;
“Animals” with its driving bass riff with it’s 90s alt rock yet almost Beatles Sergeant Pepper, psych rock harmonies; and
“Checked Out” with its cool bass and guitar riffs that starts out as a grungy song but later segues into a prog rock song, laden with strings, piano, and synth.
There are a few slow ballads in the mix that may be considered romantic and dreamy with a clavinet, stripped down acoustic guitar parts, and synths, such as “Ecstasy”, “Three Easy Pieces”, and “Designer Mind”.
I believe the album Upright Man will appeal to alt rock and grunge fans of Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots as well as prog rock fans. Rock At Night gives this album a thumbs up. Give it a listen!
Say What you mean
Three Easy Pieces
*The album’s ten shimmering tracks were produced by Marc Copely (Roseanne Cash, B.B. King, Billy Squire) and Zev Katz (Jeff Beck, Hall & Oates, Aretha Franklin) and engineered by Bruce Sugar (Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh) at Avatar Studios and Sear Sound in NYC and at Blackbird Studios in Nashville.
Aidan Dolan (Guitar, Vocals)
Nick Katz (Bass, Vocals)
Max Yassky (Drums, Back Vocals)
Ryan Slotnick (Keyboard)
To catch a glimpse:
Catch Upright Man on the road with rock-funk-soul-jazz-jam scene luminary and renowned pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph & The Family Band, and more:
6/26 New York, NY @B.B. King’s+
8/17 Ocean City, MD @Fager’s Island
8/23 New York, NY @Bowery Electric
*w/ Robert Randolph & The Family Band
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
Upright Man album pre-sale links:
I grew up in a household full of rock music, studied journalism in college, and then became a scientist.Although my science career has served me well, music has always played a major role in my life. I grew up reading "Creem" magazine; I play several musical instruments as a "hobby";and it seems a camera has always been in my hand. Now, I am combining what I love the most--music and photography--serving as editor of Rock At Night. My motto: life is short...no regrets. Chyrisse