Review: Connor Oakley and The Winners – Ghost in the Room EP

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-Greg’s Take-

With your feet on the air and your head on the ground…wait a minute…

Oh – Stop

I’ll admit I fell for it. I looked left while getting sucker punched from the right by San Marcos, Texas’ Connor Oakley and The Winners.

Oakley and crew’s tightly packed three track, Ghost in the Room EP is raw and sometimes rough around the edges; leading me to believe that these guys have a vast amount of potential for future recordings and that they’re the kind of band that would absolutely destroy in a live set.

Taking a page out of the Pixies’ book, quite literally, “Back Pedaling (Ghost in the Room)” swings open the doors of the EP. The well-planned trickery has me applauding the ode, but part of me praying this was intentional. Regardless, the track lives well within the padded walls of alt-rock’s slurring, swaggering style as Oakley belts out “It doesn’t matter anymore” in his Vaden Todd Lewis-meets-Tom DeLonge vocals.

Transitioning into “For Long,” the EP takes an unexpected turn. The less abrasive, lighter rock track rolls on with originality. The song shows that the soft side of the band is still nothing to scoff at.

Capping off the three track EP, “Bigger Things” takes a stance, big time. Combining a badass attitude with fierce guitar and a dynamic rhythm section, the guys go out in style.  The song also mixes things up a bit by featuring Matt McNeal (bassist) on half of the vocals. Though McNeal has a very prominent voice, the duet adds a character to their sound that creates another level of dymanic, without trying to be Linkin Park wannabes and this could easily take them far.

Oakley, along with Andre Black, Matt McNeal and JR McAuley have walked a fine line with Ghost in the Room.  I caution anyone, regardless of how small or big they may be, to toy with a Pixies riff. Though, in all fairness, the tribute played out well and it did not detract from the rest of their sound.

Connor Oakley and The Winners don’t need an overly elaborate production to nail their sound, they are a band, for now at least, that I can only imagine sounds much better live than on album. That is not meant to downplay their album in the least. They have a great alt-rock/borderline-punk sound that is very fun to listen to. These guys are headed in the right direction and I can’t wait to see where they go.

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