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CD title - Broken Beautiful
by Five A.M.
Review by Charles Harrelson
Five A.M. website
5 A.M. on Facebook
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5 A.M. Video
CD title - Broken Beautiful
by by Five A.M.
Review by Charles Harrelson
Five A.M. is a six piece alternative rock band based in Santa Rosa, California.
The band has been under the radar for the last few years. Now they are back
better than ever with the release of their fourth CD which is titled Broken Beautiful.
In the studio
The band traveled to L.A. to record this release. At the helm is multi-platinum producer
John Fields. John has been instrumental in producing works by Switchfoot,
Jimmy Eats World, Lifehouse,
Goo Goo Dolls, pop act Jonas Brothers, Pink and Miley Cyrun.
The band also raised the musicial bar by adding keyboard player Jimmy Donaghy
to add texture to the bands already dynamic alternative rock sound.
The CD starts off with a Dav Grohl (Foo Fighters) rocker which demonstrates the bands ability
to put it's best foot forward. I love CD's that start off full speed ahead. Many bands try to start off slowly
and build up to a major crescendo (or never fully take flight). Not the case with five A.M.
The band, under direction of
John Fields took a Dog and Butterfly approach
on this release.
What does a Dog and Butterfly (D&B) approach mean?
During the days of albums and tapes artist's recorded material to fit 20-25 minutes per side.
As a result many artist's got a little creative with how each side would play out.
Because of this limitation some artists took a D&B approach in recording their album.
A few examples I can come up with: The Heart album Dog and Butterfly
featured the bands heavy offering Barracuda (the Dog) on side A and the soft rockers
like Dog and Butterfly (the butterfly) on side B. Others which come to mind are
Todd Rundgren's Utopia featured a live recording on side A and a studio
release on side B. Pink Floyd's Ummagumma is a double album,
divided into live and studio halves. .
Five A.M.'s new release is polished and nearly perfect. The vocals are spot on ranging from
loud alternative rocker (think Dav Grohl) to soft and emotional. Every instrument was placed
perfectly in the mix. During two songs the guitar solo featured a strat sound which reminded me
of the classic sound David Gilmore got from his Comfortably Numb solo. I have tried to emulate that
sound for years and never seemed to get there.
Now that we have music digitally distributed many listeners never get to hear the music in the order
it was recorded. Many listeners have song lists or shuffle play and the art of song pacing is becoming
a lost art.
For those who will listen to a CD from the beginning
the pacing was five of the first six songs (or side A) were classic alternative rockers with a
soft ballad (track 4) mixed in. The last songs (or side B) slowed down considerably only to pick up the
pace on the final song which started slow and gathered speed.
Overall, I thought the mixture was very pleasing.
How do you review perfection? This is a CD which can rival any
major recording artist's offering. The vocals had plenty of dynamics and the bass and drum
tracks were solid as a rock. The keyboards were there to complement the band.
Because the keyboards add texture to a recording they can take up more space
in the mix. This can swallow the guitars as they share the same space in the audio spectrum.
I was most impressed by the sound of the guitar tracks. At no time did I feel the guitar
was taking up too much harmonic space, nor did I feel the guitars took too much space.
The only thing I would have done differently in the recording studio was to add an acoustic guitar
to the mix on some of the heaver tracks. This would have given the CD a little more
shine on a couple tracks which were compressed quit
I know alternative rock bands start to sound like one another after a few listens.
Five A.M. doesn't cause the listener fatique I get when listening to other alt. rock acts.
In addition, the band didn't have to scream in order to make a point. The lyrics were
intellegent and understandable. I gave this band the closest rating to perfection I could.
9.7 /10 Stars
As Reviewed by Charles Harrelson
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