The Rise to Stardom Begins
Bryan Fox is no stranger to the Louisville music scene. And the guy has enough determination and drive to pretty much take the place over if he ever puts his mind to it. With End of Me, a project he's spearheaded with considerable success these last two years, he may just have found the weapon he needs for total dominance.
End of Me - which also includes bassist Brian Vinson, drummer Ryan Murphy and guitarist keyboard player Danny de la Cruz - is one of those bands you're either going to love or ignore. The band's new self-titled album, produced magnificently by Malcolm Springer (he's worked with Matchbox 20, Collective Soul, etc.) at Distillery Sound, is about as radio-ready as an album can possibly get. But I don't mean that as criticism (not this time, anyway).
Fox and his bandmates have their melodic heavy rock down to a science. The heavy, melancholy tone so many bands have employed with great success in recent years is here in full force and Fox is masterful in his vocal delivery to support that sound. A true "critic" might bash this collection as little more than a thinly veiled attempt at stardom by some musical sycophant. And make no mistake: This is a pop album in disguise.
But whether you buy into it or not, you can't help but spin this disc and be damn impressed with the way it fulfills its mission. This is a band that isn't even signed (yet) and has broken its way into regular rotation on WLRS. That's unheard of. But these guys sprinkled in their heavy rock riffs carefully, backed by an even, calculated approach to writing hits. Yes, hits.
Mark my words: If the new single, "Yes," ever reaches the ears of a mass audience, it will be an instant smash. Why? It has everything it takes for a radio hit: Thick, slick production, a sentimental lyric that doesn't pander, vocal delivery by a singer who knows exactly what he's doing, carefully-placed, strategic tempo changes (complete with emphatic cymbal crashes) and the careful attention of a producer who knew enough to provide the right amount of slack to let the song breathe on its own.
The rest of the album is filled with the same kind of stuff. Tempos don't vary much, which holds the complete disc back a tad. But the truth is, the danger in making an album like this is - overdoing it, making it sound like nothing more than a sellout or a rip-off - was carefully averted. In this I hear the equivalent of Def Leppard's "Pyromania" album. That disc was one of many "heavy metal" albums released in 1983, but which was actually a precisely calculate melodic hard rock LP. It scored big largely because of its attention to detail and because of its timing.
If the time is right in 2003, End of Me just might blast out of here on the strength of this recording.
Catch End of Me November 16 at Phoenix Hill Tavern with Magnetic Flux, Black Stone Cherry and Turn 3.