There are those who stand by the belief that the best comes to those who wait. Don’t tell that to the members of Open Air Stereo. This pop-rock four piece from Laguna Beach, CA has proven that waiting is only part of the game when it comes to being successful in any avenue of life. The band has waited and worked for over a decade to get to where it is today. The work and the wait was well worth it as it recently signed a deal with Goomba Music and released its full length debut, Primates through the label. This record is another one of those releases that reminds individuals such as this critic as to why we do what we do. The band’s pop-rock hybrid sound makes it quite the fit for any mainstream rock radio station and even any Top 40 radio station. This is evident throughout the course of the eleven tracks on Primates, the band’s debut record.
Primates is an excellent first impression for the band on anyone that is new to its music. It opens with a pair of songs in ‘Right’ and ‘Love is Blind’ that are prime examples of the band’s ability to fit in on any radio format. ‘Right’ sounds like a hybrid mix of Jimmy Eat World and U2 with the vocals of front man Chase Johnson and guitars of Scott Pounds. This song, given the proper support, would be a good fit for any Top 40 radio station’s lineup. ‘Love is Blind’ on the other hand is edgier, making it more fitting for a mainstream rock station as would ‘Where Do We Go.’ It shows the band’s Foo Fighters influence. There are points in this song that sound like a mix of ‘Learn To Fly’ and ‘Best of You.’ It’s one of so many points throughout the record that will have listeners happily singing along. It comes across as slightly introspective song, lyrically. But what’s so interesting is that thanks to the song’s musical side, it doesn’t come across like so many songs of that ilk. Rather it gives a more upbeat vibe to what are some deep thoughts. Johnson sings in the song’s chorus, “Where do we go from here?/When are we gonna stop?/I wanna beat this crazy world/Before it falls apart/I need to know right now/What we’re all about/Cause we’re running out of time to waste.” It’s a deep song. But thankfully Johnson and company took the road less travelled and crafted a song that doesn’t come across as so many self-serving and overly emotional emo songs that have ever been written.
Primates offers audiences so much to rejoice in with its mix of pop and rock sounds, as has already been illustrated. The aforementioned songs are just part of the whole that makes this album a surprise hit. Audiences will also enjoy ‘What You Want.’ Drummer Nick Gross’ beats combine with Pounds’ guitar work to make what is sure to be one of the highest of points throughout this record. Johnson’s breezy vocal style here mixes with his band mates’ work to produce a song that sounds like a mix of 311 and perhaps certain other bands. The thing with this—and other songs on this album–is that despite having a sound similar to other bands, OAS still manages to maintain its own identity without sounding like it’s ripping off any other band. For that alone, the members of Open Air Stereo are to be applauded.
Even after ‘What You Want’, the band keeps audiences engaged with ‘Living Proof’ and Your Way is My Way.’ This song was just as solid a way to close the album as ‘Right’ was to open it. It exhibits something of a Buckcherry influence without sounding too much like that band, either. And it will have audiences singing along and moving right to the song’s final notes. The song ends perfectly, almost as if the band could use it as a show closer at its live performances.
Speaking of live performances, the band is currently on the road in support of Primates. Fans in North Carolina will get their chance to check out the band live when it makes a stop at Ziggy’s in Winston-Salem on Thursday, June 6th. It will be in Kokomo, IN at Centerstage alongside Candlebox. Fans can get a full listing of the band’s tour dates as well as the latest news and updates from the band when they “Like” the band on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/OpenAirStereo.
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