You know that feeling when you hear a song and you immediately want to hear the whole album? The feeling that gets you thinking “this could be really good!” then you go get the album and you’re horribly disappointed?
This isn’t one of those moments.
Sure my curiosity to Life Boat by LA’s Early Morning Rebel (out now on Baby Bird Records) came at exactly two minutes-ten seconds into the single “Shallow Breath” but my appreciation came in the form of six entire tracks and on remix (courtesy TC Spitfire).
Naturally my opinion of dark pop/rock is a general feeling of melancholy, sometimes bordering on whining, but this trio doesn’t head down that road. Instead Nathan Blumenfeld-James, Dustin Bath and Joshua Mervin build a dark journey into a fascinating sense of emotional awareness. Throughout, I am on the edge of my seat waiting for the buildup to just explode and take off; but it never came. Instead of six up-and-downs in a typical rock fashion, this So-Cal group uses each song to gradually build the EP, reaching apex at the electric “Burn Us Down.” Basically, Early Morning Rebel has me eating out of the palm of their hand. When the expansive buildups do come they come in the form of airy melodies and ease from one chord to the next leaving no doubt these guys know exactly how to tap into your emotional audiophile; and they take full advantage of it. When they do get loud, they do it to make a point and in almost theatrical vision paint a pain that you feel is your own. Their vast tracks are illuminated by passion driven vocal and lyrics full of force. I can’t help but be consumed by every word.
Early Morning Rebel’s piano based grand-rock plays to those dark, empty regions of music where most pop stars fear treading. All while casting their light into the reaches of your darkness as well. Life Boat becomes that friend you turn to when it feels like no one else understands you. It helps you reason your emotions. It helps you feel like you are not alone. Aptly put, it becomes your life boat.
Greg is a regular contributor and co-founder at Nanobot. Though he has never seen Grey’s Anatomy, knowing “Life Boat” is featured on the series, he may reconsider watching.