Staring Out the Sun - Break the Silence
Rock Ok indie rock, I think we need to have a little talk. I know in the 90s we decided to say that pitch-perfect vocals were not as important as the substance behind the lyrics hard-hitting and emotive guitars. The pendulum started to swing a bit too wildly, however, when the power-belting tools in Creed and Nickleback started turning indie rock into a pop commodity with one warbling tenor power-chorus after another. This madness must stop. We need vocals which actually go with the music on indie tracks - you can't have Bon Jovi singing over Alice in Chains, can you? Apparently Staring Out the Sun think so, and it's not a cute look.

The music on Staring Out the Sun's debut EP, Break the Silence is decent. It's a combination of punk and power-rock with a little bit of industrial goth in the undersamplings. Drummer Alex Alvarado has a power rock flavor to the backing beats he creates which borders on metal, while the heavy Mudvayne-like basslines of Chris Caller support that metal feel without going the whole way. Tekin Mustafa's guitars, meanwhile, provide the late 90s punk element which blends together with these more hard rock elements to create a clean, cohesive indie rock sound.

John Buckell's vocals are not technically bad. He sings very clearly and I think he's actually had more vocal training than a Scott Stapp of Creed or a Chad Kroeger. That still does not excuse the power rock power ballad-style yell-singing he does on this EP. If you like this style of singing, I suppose that's your prerogative, but it doesn't read well with the style of music the rest of Staring Out the Sun are trying to create on Break the Silence. Not everyone has to sound like Lane Staley or Frank Black to be cool in indie, but this stuff is just pabulum. Not to mention the lyrics are trite and boring. It all just kind of detracts from what could be a very interesting and special sound from the rest of the band.

What makes Staring Out the Sun even more confusing is that this yelling power punk, normally considered quintessentially American, is coming out of four dudes from London. I mean, I give up. If you're going to bite American culture, at least go with something moderately cool. Why in heaven's name would you pick the likes of Nickleback and Creed to emulate?

The first single off the Break the Silence EP, 'Secrets,' is also probably the best song on the album but its video features the band looking very American in DC hats and shoes, flannels and button-up shirts. If you turned the sound off, you'd likely mistake them for the Deftones, but may I advise the band don't tell said Deftones they're biting their look. Musically, 'Secrets'' bones are pretty strong and I think the reason I prefer it to the others is that Buckell doesn't sing very much. He's relegated to the odd "yeah" or grunt betwixt semi-boring chorus hooks, and that almost suits my taste. I'd still rather be listening to almost anything else.

Another semi-OK song on the EP is 'YMEE,' which stands for "You and Me and Everyone Else." The song starts out oddly with a sort of carnival music but then breaks into mostly tolerable power rock. It's written in a key which compliments and tempers Buckell's power-vocals, and there's a good dose of real metal guitars from Tekin Mustafa with real shredding and everything. I once again have to wonder why a guitarist with this much talent and skill wants to work with a vocalist in such a boring and whiny style.

The other two songs on the four-song EP are just pabulum. Both lead and closing tracks, 'Trust No One' and 'Anaesthesia,' respectively, feature vocals more heavily than music and thus both of them sound like uninspired power ballads. Buckell croaks his mediocre vocals all over backing tracks which are also not terribly interesting. Long lyrical verses give way to even longer choruses, and I'll tell you honestly I have no idea what Buckell is singing about in either of these songs because really who freaking cares. These are not deep lyrics, and neither are they songs worthy of more than about 30 seconds of listening.

In the opening line of Staring Out the Sun's Soundcloud bio, the band are very clear about where they get their inspiration for Break the Silence: the "...commercial rock music of the noughties." Why? I have no idea. As an American I was forced to endure the power-yells of previous incarnations of this style far too much and I don't relish going back to that era of strained neck muscles and bad perms. I will concede that it comes down to a taste issue in the case of Staring Out the Sun, however. Technically this band are damn near flawless from production to performance, even to Buckell's vocals. I personally like my rock with a little more integrity and substance, and I'm frustrated to see what I think is wasted talent in the band's guitarist and drummer. If this is the sound they want to put out into the world who am I to stop them? They are certainly a cleaner and more talented version of some of the power bands from the 00s, so I suppose given that fact all I can say to Staring Out the Sun is, "rock (boringly) on."
3
Brutal Resonance

Staring Out the Sun - Break the Silence

6.5
"Alright"
Spotify
Released off label 2015
Ok indie rock, I think we need to have a little talk. I know in the 90s we decided to say that pitch-perfect vocals were not as important as the substance behind the lyrics hard-hitting and emotive guitars. The pendulum started to swing a bit too wildly, however, when the power-belting tools in Creed and Nickleback started turning indie rock into a pop commodity with one warbling tenor power-chorus after another. This madness must stop. We need vocals which actually go with the music on indie tracks - you can't have Bon Jovi singing over Alice in Chains, can you? Apparently Staring Out the Sun think so, and it's not a cute look.

The music on Staring Out the Sun's debut EP, Break the Silence is decent. It's a combination of punk and power-rock with a little bit of industrial goth in the undersamplings. Drummer Alex Alvarado has a power rock flavor to the backing beats he creates which borders on metal, while the heavy Mudvayne-like basslines of Chris Caller support that metal feel without going the whole way. Tekin Mustafa's guitars, meanwhile, provide the late 90s punk element which blends together with these more hard rock elements to create a clean, cohesive indie rock sound.

John Buckell's vocals are not technically bad. He sings very clearly and I think he's actually had more vocal training than a Scott Stapp of Creed or a Chad Kroeger. That still does not excuse the power rock power ballad-style yell-singing he does on this EP. If you like this style of singing, I suppose that's your prerogative, but it doesn't read well with the style of music the rest of Staring Out the Sun are trying to create on Break the Silence. Not everyone has to sound like Lane Staley or Frank Black to be cool in indie, but this stuff is just pabulum. Not to mention the lyrics are trite and boring. It all just kind of detracts from what could be a very interesting and special sound from the rest of the band.

What makes Staring Out the Sun even more confusing is that this yelling power punk, normally considered quintessentially American, is coming out of four dudes from London. I mean, I give up. If you're going to bite American culture, at least go with something moderately cool. Why in heaven's name would you pick the likes of Nickleback and Creed to emulate?

The first single off the Break the Silence EP, 'Secrets,' is also probably the best song on the album but its video features the band looking very American in DC hats and shoes, flannels and button-up shirts. If you turned the sound off, you'd likely mistake them for the Deftones, but may I advise the band don't tell said Deftones they're biting their look. Musically, 'Secrets'' bones are pretty strong and I think the reason I prefer it to the others is that Buckell doesn't sing very much. He's relegated to the odd "yeah" or grunt betwixt semi-boring chorus hooks, and that almost suits my taste. I'd still rather be listening to almost anything else.

Another semi-OK song on the EP is 'YMEE,' which stands for "You and Me and Everyone Else." The song starts out oddly with a sort of carnival music but then breaks into mostly tolerable power rock. It's written in a key which compliments and tempers Buckell's power-vocals, and there's a good dose of real metal guitars from Tekin Mustafa with real shredding and everything. I once again have to wonder why a guitarist with this much talent and skill wants to work with a vocalist in such a boring and whiny style.

The other two songs on the four-song EP are just pabulum. Both lead and closing tracks, 'Trust No One' and 'Anaesthesia,' respectively, feature vocals more heavily than music and thus both of them sound like uninspired power ballads. Buckell croaks his mediocre vocals all over backing tracks which are also not terribly interesting. Long lyrical verses give way to even longer choruses, and I'll tell you honestly I have no idea what Buckell is singing about in either of these songs because really who freaking cares. These are not deep lyrics, and neither are they songs worthy of more than about 30 seconds of listening.

In the opening line of Staring Out the Sun's Soundcloud bio, the band are very clear about where they get their inspiration for Break the Silence: the "...commercial rock music of the noughties." Why? I have no idea. As an American I was forced to endure the power-yells of previous incarnations of this style far too much and I don't relish going back to that era of strained neck muscles and bad perms. I will concede that it comes down to a taste issue in the case of Staring Out the Sun, however. Technically this band are damn near flawless from production to performance, even to Buckell's vocals. I personally like my rock with a little more integrity and substance, and I'm frustrated to see what I think is wasted talent in the band's guitarist and drummer. If this is the sound they want to put out into the world who am I to stop them? They are certainly a cleaner and more talented version of some of the power bands from the 00s, so I suppose given that fact all I can say to Staring Out the Sun is, "rock (boringly) on."
Apr 22 2015

Off label

Official relesae released by the artist themselves without the backing of a label.

Layla Marino

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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